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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Friday, February 6, 2015

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Campagnolo Says Strike Won't Impair Deliveries

A few days ago I reported that Campagnolo is planning on moving much of its production to Romania, where it now has two factories, to reduce production costs. That plan will require a reduction of Campy's Vicenza, Italy workforce from 399 workers to 331.

That reduction of its Italian workforce by 68 riders has caused a worker protest. Campagnolo owner and boss, Valentino Campagnolo argues that the move to lower cost production facilities and the reduction of its Italian workforce is necessary to ensure the company's continuity.

Valetino Campagnolo

Valentino Campagnolo (center) with Larry Theobald of CycleItalia (left) and Chairman Bill (left) at a recent bicycle trade show.

Campagnolo has lost a lot of market share and according the the firm, the move "aims to recover market share and margin that have eroded in recent years, due to the declining competitiveness of our Italian facilities."

The union countered, "It does not include any real intention to invest to make the Vicenza plants more efficient and increase its competitiveness, in order to face the new challenges of the global market."

Tinkoff-Saxo Plans for Peter Sagan and the Tour of Qatar

Tinkoff-Saxo sent this note about its plans for Peter Sagan and the Upcoming Tour of Qatar (February 8-13):

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan in his old Cannondale kit. He'll debut in Tinkoff-Saxo colors at the Tour of Qatar on the 8th.

"Tinkoff-Saxo sends an ambitious line-up to Tour of Qatar spearheaded by Peter Sagan, who’s starting his maiden race in the Tinkoff-Saxo jersey. The star studded 2015-edition of the fast paced, sprinter’s race features six stages in flat terrain and the constant fight for positioning in the crosswinds will most likely turn the race into a tough affair with Tinkoff-Saxo looking for early season success.

"Consequently, Tinkoff-Saxo is bringing a squad of powerful riders. Peter Sagan will lead the team backed by Maciej Bodnar, Matti Breschel, Michael Mørkøv, Pavel Brutt, Christopher Juul-Jensen, Ivan Rovny and Nikolay Trusov. Leading sport director Tristan Hoffman expects to see a hectic race, where Tinkoff-Saxo will play an active role.

“Peter Sagan is our team leader and we’ll support him 100 percent. Tour of Qatar is a special race for him and the team as it marks his debut for Tinkoff-Saxo. We got a very strong team also taking into account the seriousness with which the guys have prepared. No doubt that Peter has a good chance in the fight for stage wins and the 10km time trial also makes the GC quite interesting for us”, explains Tristan Hoffman, whose enthusiasm is backed by Peter Sagan:

“I raced in Qatar four years ago and that was the start of a great season. I think it's the right race for my official start in the Tinkoff-Saxo jersey. I look forward to start racing there”.

"Tour of Qatar has been a part of the race calendar since 2002 and has predominantly been a sprinter’s race. This year is no different. Five out of six stages favor the fast men of the peloton. Tristan Hoffman is confident in the team’s setup, where Peter Sagan will be the final rider in the yellow-fluo colored lead-out train.

“Looking at our squad, I think we have a strong lead-out if a stage turns into a classic sprinter’s duel. All the guys are capable of setting a very high pace - and in especially Michael Mørkøv and Matti Breschel, who finished 2nd overall in 2005, we have two really fast riders to do the lead-out for Peter”, says Tristan Hoffman and adds: “However, there’s a high risk that the crosswinds will split up the peloton as Qatar is generally a quite windy race with long open stretches. We have to ride the race from the front and act in the wind instead of reacting”. 

"TT could prove decisive: Stage 3 sees the riders race against the clock in the 10,9km individual time trial at the racetrack Lusail Circuit. This could very well mean that the overall win will go to a time trial or prologue specialist. According to Hoffman, Tinkoff-Saxo has several options:

“Of course, Peter Sagan does a great time trial. But we need to keep our opportunities open. Maciej Bodnar is a three-time national TT champion and really strong against the clock. We’ll keep Breschel and Bodnar in a protective role for the first stages and see how everything plays out at the time trial”.

"Tour of Qatar is considered an important and ideal lead-up to the northern classics as the riders will encounter the same high-speed fight for positioning as during the classics – however under warmer conditions. The race also gives the riders an opportunity to see the 2016 World Championships route set to take place in Doha, where Tour of Qatar finishes on stage six

Race Preview

Number of stages: 6
Total length: 784 kilometers
Kind:  Fast sprinter’s race with likely crosswinds
First edition: 2002
Last year’s winner: Niki Terpstra
Best GC result of Tinkoff-Saxo: 1st – Lars Michaelsen (2005)

Tour of Qatar will begin in Durkhan and head 136 kilometers to Sealine Beach. Stage 2 will present the riders with 194,5km to Al Khor Corniche - the longest stage of the race.  Both stages feature a finale close to the sea, where crosswinds have proven decisive before. The riders face the only non-sprinter stage on day 3, where they’ll tackle the 10,9km TT. Riders with ambitions in the GC will have to deliver a prime performance on this stage. Stage 4 and 5 will likely turn into a cat-and-mouse affair as riders looking to avoid a final sprint will try to catch the sprinter’s teams off guard. On stage six, the riders conclude the 2015 edition on a short and fast stage to the waterfront promenade in the capital Doha.

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