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Dimension Data are riding the 2019 Tour Down Under with what is one of the strongest teams on paper. The seven-man squad includes 2013 winner Tom-Jelte Slagter, who was also third overall last year, Amstel Gold and Het Nieuwsblad winner Michael Valgren, and last year's Giro d'Italia phenomenon Ben O'Connor, who looks set for a very bright future. Also on the team is Lars Bak, who finished third overall at the 2007 edition of the Tour Down Under. On the day he's celebrating his 39th birthday [Wednesday] – his seventh celebration of it at this race – the Dane talked to Cyclingnews about how he expects this year's race to unfold with his new team. "With Tom, Michael and Ben here we have three cards to play for the GC, and for the stage wins, and we've actually also got Nic Dlamini, who won the mountains jersey last year, and Scott Davies, who was really good here last year, too," said Bak. ADVERTISEMENT "We're here to make it a hard race and to do our best to take the win. If I see any opportunities, I'll grab them, but I'm mainly here to support them." Compared to when Bak first rode the race and took third in 2007, the race has a very different feel to it, now attracting some of the world's best riders, and a number of climbers, in particular. This year's race is one of the most difficult in some years, with a tough day to Uraidla on stage 3, the return of the Corkscrew climb for stage 4, and a stage 6 finale that includes two ascents of Willunga Hill. Bak has ridden the race six more times since 2007, and has seen the race develop first-hand.
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Stage 2 of the 2019 Tour Down Under was marred by a late crash that saw a number of riders hit the ground ahead of a chaotic sprint finale where Patrick Bevin (CCC Team) emerged victorious. Marco Haller (Katusha-Alpecin) looked to be the worst affected by the crash as he rolled into the team vehicle area past the finish line with his face, sky-blue kit and bike covered with blood. Despite the initial impressions, however, the majority of Haller’s injuries appear to be superficial and the former Austrian national champion plans on starting stage 3 on Thursday. “If you have a cut on the face it always looks worse than it actually is,” Haller said. “The guy in front of me, his bike came up from the ground and hit me in the face and obviously it's not a nice feeling when somebody throws their bike in your face.ADVERTISEMENT “Right now, it looks like nothing is broken and that's the most important thing, I'm pretty ok, my shoulder and neck is a bit sore but everything is alright. “I'm very sure I'll be on the start line again tomorrow, there is no reason to not try at least. You know how it is sometimes and you can have a tough night and tomorrow it can feel even worse than today. You're still buzzing from the final and have a bit of adrenaline in the blood but I'm very sure it will not affect my race.” Katusha later confirmed that Haller had suffered “a bruised trapezius muscle and has multiple superficial road rash on his elbow, face, knee and hip,” though he had avoided any broken bones.
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What a difference a day makes in the high-octane world of sprinting. From winning the stage and taking the ochre leader's jersey on stage 1 of the Tour Down Under on Tuesday, to being out of the sprinting mix and losing the race lead on Wednesday, Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) has had a mixed couple of days. It could have been a lot worse. Despite everything, Viviani managed to avoid the crash that took down a number of riders just inside the final kilometre of stage 2. However, having been caught out of position, the Italian road race champion was left with too much to do to take a second stage win out of two and defend his race lead from stage winner Paddy Bevin (CCC Team), whose 10-second win-bonus gave the New Zealander the leader's jersey.ADVERTISEMENT "We knew that everything needed to go perfectly in order for us to try to win the stage, but we were never in a good position today," Viviani admitted. "We were always in trouble, and then the crash happened and, although we just missed it, I had to do a 'double sprint' to try to catch up. "When I started my sprint, I was still thinking that maybe I could catch up, but my legs didn't agree. I think I was up to about fourth or fifth place, but I wasn't able to go again to go for the win. I think Bevin did an amazing sprint, beating some of the best sprinters, but, as I say, it wasn't an easy sprint today." Viviani said that he didn't see the crash, which initially happened on the left-hand side of the road before spreading across the group.
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Stage 2 of the Tour Down Under was a case of two steps forward, one step back for Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal). The Australian put right the mistakes made on stage 1 when he was caught out of position, but he was still unable to come away with the win after Patrick Bevin (CCC Team) produced a faultless surge to nudge him into second. “Well always knew that it was going to be a super tough finish,” Ewan said of the finish. The uphill drag proved too much for the pure sprinters, some of whom were caught up in a late crash, while Ewan was the only remaining fast-man to come close to Bevin as the line approached.ADVERTISEMENT “I just had to be in a good position at the start of the climb. I was probably a little further back than where I wanted to be, maybe I wasted a little too much energy moving back to the front but I think that my form is still good. There’s nothing to worry about,” Ewan said. “I did hear a bit of a crash but I’m not sure what happened. We ended up in a good position and I started my sprint when I wanted to but I just didn’t have the legs, especially against someone like Patrick, who is more of a sprinter-climber and can get over something like that a little bit fresher than me.” There is no shame in a sprinter losing in Angaston. In 2014, Simon Gerrans put André Greipel to the sword on the same finish, while Matthew Goss did the same to Greipel and Robbie McEwen in 2011. Ewan compared Bevin’s ride and characteristics to Gerrans.
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Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) escaped a late crash on stage 2 of the Tour Down Under to finish third behind Patrick Bevin (CCC Team) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal). A crash in the final kilometre saw several riders fall, while the majority of the peloton were held up. Sagan escaped the fall, despite a late scare, and looked in contention for the win until Bevin accelerated clear in the final few hundred metres. The three-time world champion had no response and was beaten for second by Ewan on the slightly uphill finish to the line. “I think the more dangerous sprint was yesterday, today was on a little bit of a climb and it was more about the legs,” Sagan said afterwards. “The crash didn't affect me because it was behind me. I think somebody touched my back wheel, I don't know who it was. After, Luis Leon [Sanchez] just attacked and I stayed behind him. A guy from CCC, I think it was Bevin, I think he won very easily. Yeah, good legs.”ADVERTISEMENT Stage 3 presents another opportunity for Sagan. He has the ability to be able to climb and sprint, and the punishing stage with around 3,000m of climbing should see the pure sprinters lose contact before the finish. Sagan admitted to Cyclingnews before the Tour Down Under began that he has not trained as intensively as in previous years because he hopes of gaining form later in the spring in order to hold his condition for a possible tilt at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. That said, he has been in contention throughout his time in Australia, even though he is clearly missing that extra few per cent in the sprint finishes. What’s clear from his language and demeanour is that he is not putting pressure on himself at the Tour Down Under. When you’re a three-time world champion, winning races in January isn’t such a necessity. “We will see tomorrow, it's going to be a hard over these two days. We will see during the stage I think, it's not going to be decided now. We're going to see tomorrow and we will see on Saturday how it is going,” he said.
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Vincenzo Nibali joined his Bahrain-Merida teammates at a training camp in Catalunya on Tuesday to prepare for the 2019 season but confirmed that he is already thinking about 2020 and his personal future, which could be at Bahrain-Merida, Trek-Segafredo or even elsewhere. Nibali admitted to Cyclingnews that Team Sky team manager Dave Brailsford had contacted his agent Johnny Carera after he said before last year's Il Lombardia that he'd be flattered to receive an offer from the British team. Team Sky's future is now in doubt after Sky decided to leave the sport but Trek-Segafredo have stepped up and confirmed they want to sign Nibali, with the Italian coffee brand offering Nibali a apparently tempting post-career ambassador role. Nibali, his agent and lawyer held talks with both Bahrain-Merida and Trek-Segafredo teams last week and both will soon submit formal offers that include a two-year deal, a Grand Tour winners salary and the hiring of his personal staff and his brother Antonio.ADVERTISEMENT "I'm still here…." Nibali told Cyclingnews with a smile while sitting under a Bahrain-Merida backdrop and in the team's red and blue colours but very much his own man. "We'll see what happens in the future. They're important negotiations and important projects on offer. "I think it's normal that when a contract ends, you listen to the offers. Listening is easy to do. It can also be motivating depending on the projects that are on offer." First the Giro d'Italia, then the Tour de France
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At first, CCC Team's Patrick Bevin wasn't given much credit for having won stage 2 of the 2019 Tour Down Under in Angaston on Wednesday. Almost everyone had assumed that the bright-orange-clad rider who had got the better of Lotto Soudal's Caleb Ewan and three-time world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) in the race for the line was CCC's designated sprinter Jakub Mareczko. It took a couple of minutes for the news to filter through: Bevin, who had taken enough bonus seconds while in a breakaway on Tuesday's opening stage to put himself into third overall going into the second day, was the day's winner, and the 10-second stage winner's bonus had also been enough to give him the race lead, deposing overnight leader Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep), who could only finish seventh. "The team was riding for Mareczko," Bevin confirmed, "but I had a free role. They were going to try to lead him out, but obviously with me chasing the GC here, I had to stay up there and not lose time.ADVERTISEMENT "We knew it was a tough finish," he said. "We'd 'reconned' it, so it was a case of, 'If it happens, it happens,' but the finish was really tough. It was on for the last five kilometres - full gas - because otherwise the day had been quite easy, so it just became about looking after what I could do for me, and I happened to pick up a teammate [Fran Ventoso] after it got separated [due to the crash] and that was a big help to deliver me in the last kilometre." Bevin explained that it wasn't really until with two kilometres to go that he thought he might have a chance. "The road kind of dragged up there, and I got myself into a really good position, on the shoulder of the road, out of the wind," he said. "Just as the crash happened, I was starting to move up and come around, and then the Astana rider, Luis Leon Sanchez, went off the front, and so I thought I'd try to pick him up and use him as a springboard, as I knew that in a straight sprint I wasn't going to be able to beat those other guys.
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Patrick Bevin (CCC Team) laid down his biggest marker yet in the battle for the overall crown at the Tour Down Under by winning stage 2 in a reduced bunch sprint. The new race leader powered clear to win ahead of Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) and Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe). A crash in the final few hundred meters took down several riders and held up the majority of the peloton. Bevin responded to a late attack from Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) and powered to the line inside the final 150m. There was a late charge from Caleb Ewan but the pint-sized sprinter was unable to even draw level with Bevin in the closing meter. Sagan, was best of the rest, while EIia Viviani was caught too far back to contest the win. "I think that on a finish like that I can play my cards pretty well, obviously, having come here and had the form and taking time bonuses yesterday," Bevin said at the line. "I don't think that saying I could win stage 2 was on the cards, but it's just that I could pick a good line on that hard, draggy finish. Sanchez was off the front and that gave me the perfect springboard. I put my head down and if you finish first you finish first. if you get mowed down you get mowed down, but obviously the legs were good."ADVERTISEMENT Bevin took five seconds on stage 1 after going into the day's break, but his sprint today was reminiscent of a rider like Simon Gerrans in his pomp, as the New Zealand rider took on the pure sprinters and beat them on the gentle incline into Angaston. The win means that Bevin takes a five-second lead into stage 3 over Viviani, with Ewan a futher four seconds in arrears. The likes of Richie Porte, Michael Woods and defending champion Darly Impey must now attack in order to wrestle control away from Bevin, but on the basis of today's result that will be no easy challenge. The crash in the final kilometre certainly affected the result, with a rider from AG2R La Mondiale one of the first to come down after a touch of wheels. Until that point it looked as though the stage would finish in a typical bunch sprint, but the crash caused panic with riders either hitting the deck or forced to brake. With the fall inside the final three kilometres, none of the riders held up lost time other than the bonus seconds awarded on the line for the top three. 2019 Tour Down Under race tech
Tour Down Under 2019 WorldTour tech gallery
Michael Valgren's BMC Teammachine SLR01 Disc — gallery
New lace up shoes from Rapha seen at Tour Down Under
Unreleased POC helmet at Tour Down Under
New lightweight Specialized climbing shoe spotted at the Tour Down Under
A close look at SRAMs new 12-speed eTap groupset
Ewan's 2019 Ridley Noah Fast - Gallery
EF Education First aim to 'disrupt' pro peloton with bright pink kit - Gallery
Stage 2 video highlights
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Wout Poels (Team Sky) might be making his debut at the Tour Down Under this year, but the Dutch climber is intent on leaving an impression on the race as he targets the GC. The race is likely to be decided on the climb of Willunga Hill, which this year acts as the finale to the six-day race. Richie Porte - now of Trek-Segafredo - has won on Willunga five times, and although the Australian has only gone onto win the overall once, he started this year's race as the outright favourite. "I'm going to try for GC," Poels told Cyclingnews from the race.ADVERTISEMENT "We have done recon and it's going to be hard with the weather. I think the race suits me well. I've started the season well sometimes but in other years it takes me some time but we'll see. It would be nice to have a new winner on Willunga but we'll try." Team Sky have come to the Tour Down Under with a mix of Classics, Grand Tour and one-day specialists. They have a squad that will take on a block of racing that also includes the Cadel Evans race and the Herald Sun Tour, with Poels expected to lead the line throughout the block of racing. Poels is well versed in having opportunities in week-long and one-day races. However, since his move to Team Sky five years ago he has been utilized as a super domestique in Grand Tours. There was a top-ten in the 2017 Vuelta a España but that came after Chris Froome won the overall. The 31-year-old is out of contract at the end of this season - regardless of the future of the team's sponsor hunt - but he is comfortable with his place at the British team.
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The EF Education First Pro Cycling Team made the headlines last weekend as the final team to launch their eye-catching 2019 Rapha team kit. Accompanying the conspicuous pink fade design in the press release were claims from the team about how they will 'disrupt' the peloton in 2019. However, after Tuesday's WorldTour opener the team were out of the limelight — Dan McLay was the team's best placed finisher in 13th while teammates took the final three positions on the results sheet. The hope of disrupting the peloton will have to wait a little bit longer, but with more sprint stages and Michael Woods capable of a GC challenge there are more opportunities in the coming days. The sprint into Port Adelaide was a chaotic affair and the cross headwind, combined with a number of new look sprinter's teams still looking to gel, put an impotence into the idea of a dominant lead-out train from any squad.ADVERTISEMENT Speaking to Cyclingnews after the stage, McLay described the day: "With a bit of a head wind and the break already brought back, you're kind of in the situation where you're just waiting until someone starts it. "It was pretty hectic but the boys did a good job. We were there perhaps a bit too soon, I should've backed off and got in a wheel a bit sooner as I was pushing some wind in the corners there at the end. "It was pretty chaotic, a few guys bouncing off the barriers I think they were maybe a bit too excited. I think I had to get out on the right, my normal thing is to wait way too long and duck up on the right-hand side so I was trying to get out but lost too much speed to get out. In hindsight I should've stayed on the left with Viviani but hindsight's great and he's got the momentum at the moment and the instinct, but we'll give it another crack. "
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Have a question for Lennard? Please email us to be included in Technical FAQ.Dear Lennard,
I was reading your recent Q&A regarding Speedplay cleats and cleat placement being moved farther back. In the article, you mention that moving the cleats farther back can potentially provide relief from “hot spots.” I saw a fitter last year who had adjusted the fore-aft of my road cleats to what they believed to be a neutral position and inserted a few shims to my left cleat to compensate for a leg length discrepancy. The shims solved one issue in my lower back and made another more noticeable. My left foot never experiences any numbness or tingling, but I frequently feel it in my big toe on the right foot.
You mentioned that some riders may experience this sensation by having too much weight placed on the front of their foot. In this case, would you recommend moving only the right cleat back further and leaving the left where it is with the shims in place, or is it best to move both cleats back slightly and also lower my saddle accordingly?— JustinDear Justin,
That stack of cleat shims alone could be a good solution to the leg-length discrepancy that your fitter has diagnosed for you, but it is cause for concern that new pains have appeared since then. I’m glad you’re investigating alternatives.
Moving the cleat further back will likely improve the foot numbness you are feeling, as long as you have a stiff (carbon) shoe sole. However, if you were to only move one cleat back and not the other, you would be throwing off that leg-length correction. I would recommend against doing that.
That said, there is a reason where one might wish to move one cleat back and not the other, and I have no way of knowing if it applies to you. Raising the cleat off of the shoe with a cleat shim (while keeping the fore-aft position of both cleats the same) is a good way to correct for a minor leg-length discrepancy that is isolated in the lower leg. However, if the leg-length discrepancy is in the upper leg, correcting with a cleat shim alone is ill-advised. Rather, the correction should consist of a combination of a thinner cleat shim combined with putting the long leg deeper into the pedal (i.e., moving the cleat back on just that one shoe). This is discussed eloquently by Andy Pruitt in his excellent book.
As with all adjustments meant to alleviate problems caused by leg-length discrepancies, the total amount of correction, whether with a cleat shim alone or with a cleat shim combined with fore-aft repositioning of a single cleat, should be less than the measured amount of leg-length discrepancy.
window.ia_1 = googletag.defineSlot('/21732621108/velonews', [[300, 50],[300, 250],[320, 50],[728, 90]], 'ad-ia-1').defineSizeMapping(szmp_ia).addService(googletag.pubads());googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('ad-ia-1'); });In your case, I have no way of knowing the amount of any leg-length discrepancy you might have and where that length discrepancy is located. My ability to make a recommendation is thus limited. If you have confidence in your fitter, going back to him or her for further adjustments might be the best course of action.
If you are going to move the cleats without further guidance from your fitter, I recommend that you initially move both cleats the same amount (and correct the seat height accordingly) unless you have a medical reason not to. And it would seem to make sense to move the shim stack along with its cleat and try that first. If you still have back pain resolved in one area but newly appearing in another, you might then remove a shim or two.― LennardDear Lennard,
Appreciate your column and common sense insight and advice on all things cycling. Regarding cleat position, I’m a size 46.5-47 shoe (6’2″ 190lbs) so I fit the profile you described, regarding someone who would benefit from a further rearward cleat position. While in triathlon I somehow got advice and ended up with my road cleats almost as far forward as possible, but as I’ve migrated toward dirt (MTB and gravel) the last few years, I’ve slowly moved those back on my MTB shoes and now my road shoes as well.
That said, I already have some toe overlap on my current road/gravel bike (3T Exploro in size large) and worry that experimenting with pushing cleats further back will cause the overlap to worsen. Is toe overlap a sign that the frame is too small? Or just something to ignore and not worry about, given that the only time you’re turning the bars (and front wheel) that far left or right is at a stoplight or when you’re barely moving?— Henry with Big FeetDear Henry with Big Feet,
While toe overlap can be indicative of a frame that is too small, this is not the case with small riders; the bike geometry must allow them to not only have the reach to the bars they desire (and the wheel size they desire), while also keeping the front tire away from their feet. With you at 6’2,” I suspect that your top tube length might indeed be short for you.
Toe overlap is caused by a combination of crank length, shoe size, cleat position, top tube length, tire diameter, head and seat angles, and fork offset (rake). If the other above variables are kept constant, toe overlap is reduced either by:
Decreasing crank length
Decreasing shoe size
More forward cleat positioning
Increasing the top-tube length
Decreasing the tire volume (or wheel size)
Decreasing the head-tube angle (i.e., making the angle of the head tube more shallow)
Increasing the seat-tube angle (i.e., making the seat tube steeper), or
Increasing the fork rake.
Without replacing your frame or fork, the only things you can realistically do are to decrease your tire and/or wheel size, decrease your crank length, or move your cleats further forward, none of which you probably want to do. You could get a fork with more rake, which would make the ride more compliant while making the steering quicker (decreased stability) and the wheelbase longer. Realistically, most carbon gravel road forks have 47mm of rake, so you’re not likely to make much of a change there.
As you have correctly identified, toe overlap is only a crash-causing issue at low speeds. Thus, it is an absolute no-no for a mountain bike on technical climbs, but it may be acceptable on a gravel road bike. If you find it to be a safety issue for you, you might want to look around for a different bike.― Lennard
Read the full article at Technical FAQ: More on cleat positioning and toe overlap on

PARIS (AFP) — Teenage Italian cyclist Samuele Manfredi has emerged from a coma more than a month after a serious crash in training, his team announced on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old, who rides for French outfit Groupama-FDJ, was rushed to a hospital with head injuries after being run over by a car in his hometown of Pietra Ligure in northwest Italy and placed in a medically-induced coma on December 10.
“The young Italian rider’s life is no longer in danger, but he is now entering a long process of rehabilitation,” his team said.
Manfredi finished in second place at last year’s Paris-Roubaix Juniors race and was European junior individual pursuit champion in August.

We have good news to share with you! Yesterday, Samuele Manfredi woke up from the induced coma he was kept in after his accident on December 10. He is no longer in a life-threatening condition and will now start a long recovery process.
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Read the full article at Top young Italian cyclist out of coma after crash on

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has downplayed the significance of his head-to-head meeting with Chris Froome (Team Sky) at next month's Tour Colombia. In a press conference in Bogota on Monday, Quintana pointed out that both riders would be lining out in the Colombian race with the principal aim of accumulating racing kilometres as they build towards the Tour de France. "It's very early to start thinking about different strategies," Quintana said, according to Marca. "You have to see how we're each going and how each team is working, but in truth he is like any other rival. He will surely come with the same objectives as me: to start [his season] and do the kilometres to get to the Tour de France in very good shape." Quintana endured a disappointing 2018 season, placing 10th overall at the Tour and 8th at the Vuelta a España. Despite that setback, the 28-year-old will target the Tour once again this season. He will be accompanied in Movistar's Tour line-up by Mikel Landa, while world champion Alejandro Valverde is set to ride the Giro d'Italia.ADVERTISEMENT Now in its second edition – the inaugural event was labelled Colombia Paz y Oro – the Tour Colombia remains a six-day event, but has shifted to a slightly later date. The race gets underway with a team time trial in Medellin on February 12 and concludes with a finish on Alto de Palmas on February 17. This year's Tour Colombia will take place in the Antioquia department, while Quintana's home department of Boyaca is pencilled in to host the 2020 edition of the race. Quintana placed third overall in last year's Colombia Paz y Oro, which was won by fellow countryman Egan Bernal (Team Sky). Bernal is due to return to the race this year alongside Froome, Tao Geoghegan Hart and new signing Ivan Sosa. Quintana is set to be joined in the Movistar line-up by Carlos Betancur, Winner Anacona, Marc Soler and Richard Carapaz. Valverde confirmed via a video message on Monday that he will not race in Colombia this season, though he pledged to line out at the event in 2020.
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