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Cycling Racing News and Opinion
July 26, 2014

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Bike Europe (www.bike-eu.com) reports that the Netherlands-Accell Group, the Dutch holding company that controls several of the world most important cycling brands (Hercules, Winora, Tunturi, Mercier, Atala, Batavus, Raleigh, Redline, Diamondback, Torker are among its brands) had a good first half of 2014 with a net profit of 27.5 Euros, up 13% compared to 2013. Turnover was up 4% to 506.2 Euros.

Accell boss René Takens attributed some of the improvement to increased sales in e-bikes, "Turnover in electric bikes once again increased significantly in the Netherlands and Germany. In the course of the current bicycle season we also launched new electric bikes in France, the United Kingdom, Italy and the United States. We will be adding even more models to our ranges in these countries in the new 2014-2015 bicycle season."

Bicycle Retailer reports that Mavic's sales grew 10 percent in the first half of 2014, up 8 percent in the first quarter and 12 percent during the second quarter (to 31.1 million Euros or 27.7 million USD). Mavic is owned by the Finnish Amer Sports group which also owns Wilson, Atomic, Salomon and Precor.

Philippe Gilbert had to withdraw from the Tour de Wallonie because of a lung infection. But his director Rik Verbrugghe has decided to leave the rest of Gilbert's racing program unaltered, so the Belgian wil be on the start line for the Clasica San Sebastian on August second and then the Eneco Tour on the eleventh.

Philippe Gilbert

Philippe Gilbert wins the 2014 Amstel Gold Race. Photo ©Sirotti

Bauke Mollema's time trial was not what his fans had hoped for. The Belkin rider was 140th today, losing more than nine minutes. Turns out he was riding a new, untested time trial bike. Mollema cramped and could not put power into his pedal stroke. He had found the bike was faster than his old time trial bike and felt it was worth the gamble to ride. Mollema blames no one but himself, "I have had the choice to ride on the new bike or not. I consciously made ​​that choice, so it's my own fault."

Vincenzo Nibali's Tour de France victory is historical for more than one reason. One, he's the first Italian winner since Marco Pantani's win in the scandal-marred 1998 edition. Before Pantani you have to go back to 1965 and young Felice Gimondi's effortless win to find another Italian winner.

Nibali joins Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Alberto Contador as the only winner's of all three grand Tours.

Alejandro Valverde woke up this morning feeling he had good legs. He had the same 56-tooth chainring mounted on his bike today he had used to win the Spanish time trial championship a few weeks ago. But, as Carlos Arribas of the Spanish daily El Pais wrote, the problem with Valverde is his unpredictablility, his taste for surprise. And today, he surprised his fans with a time trial that was a disaster. He finished 28th, 4min 28sec slower than Tony Martin, a performance that dropped him down to fourth place, almost ten minutes behind Vincenzo Nibali. As Arribas put is, it was like Spanish cycling of old, won in the mountains and lost in the time trials. At 34, this was probably Valverde's last, best chance for a Tour de France podium finish.

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