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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, April 28, 2016

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

People think that I must be a very strange person. This is not correct. I have the heart of a small boy. It is in a glass jar on my desk. - Stephen King

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Illness forces Porte out of Tour de Romandie

BMC sent me this bad news:

28 April 2016, Moudon (SUI): Richie Porte has been forced to withdraw from the Tour de Romandie on the morning of stage 2 due to illness.

BMC Racing Team Dr Dario Spinelli provided the following update on Porte's condition.

"Richie has developed some gastrointestinal problems and a fever overnight and is not fit to start today, particularly given the difficulty of stage 2. He is showing symptoms of a virus and hasn't had an appetite so it's not in his best interest to line up for a mountain stage with no fuel in the system," Dr Spinelli said.

Given the importance of the Tour de Romandie, Porte is disappointed to have to withdraw. "Of course it's disappointing to have to stop but I trust the medical team's advice that it's the right decision," Porte said.

Tour de Romandie: Sander Armée's break attempt

This note came from Lotto-Soudal:

The first stage in the Tour de Romandie was plagued by snow showers today. Before the start, the organization decided to shorten the stage by almost 70 kilometres. Eventually the start was given in Mathod, the riders needed to cover about 100 kilometres. Immediately after the start signal Sander Armée decided to attack, no one reacted. A few moments later two riders tried to bridge the gap but they were unable to join the leader because Armée already had obtained a nice gap on the peloton. The Belgian took all the KOM points on the route. Therefore he’s the new leader in that classification.

At 13 kilometres from the finish Armée was caught, because of his effort he became the most combative rider. After that, the reduced peloton prepared itself for a bunch sprint. Marcel Kittel was the fastest, he won just ahead of Niccolo Bonifazio. Tosh Van der Sande finished fourth. Jon Izaguirre maintains the leader’s jersey, Louis Vervaeke is seventh on GC and remains leader in the youth classification. 

Saner Armee

Sander Armée on his breakaway

Sander Armée: “Because the stage was shortened today, I thought that I might possibly have a chance in a breakaway. So from the start of the race, I decided to go for it. However, no one ended up joining me. After a few kilometres, some other riders managed to escape from the peloton, but by that time, I already had a one minute advantage on them. I thought I would go at my own speed from then on, and see if they could catch up with me, however they never managed to do that. So I ended up riding on my own.

"At 40 kilometres to the finish, I thought that perhaps I was in with a chance, if the peloton wasn’t able to organise itself well. However, Orica-GreenEDGE started to come to the front with Movistar, and they went all out for the sprint, so in the end it was impossible to stay ahead by myself. Particularly due to the headwind, my speed wasn’t as high anymore towards the end of the stage, and riders in a large bunch can of course always reach higher speeds than a rider who is by himself, so I was ultimately caught. However, I picked up the combativity award as well as the king of the mountains jersey today, so my efforts were rewarded, and now we have a nice jersey to wear on tomorrow’s stage.”

BMC headed to Tour of Yorkshire

This news came from the team:

27 April 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA): BMC Racing Team will be looking to replicate previous success when the seven-rider team lines up at the Tour de Yorkshire from 29 April to 1 May.

"We have a diverse team of riders who can definitely go for both the General Classification and stage wins, including Ben Hermans who won a stage in the inaugural edition in 2015," Sports Director Jackson Stewart said.

Hermans is looking forward to returning to the race. "Having won a stage in 2015 it will be nice to have the opportunity to return to Tour de Yorkshire, especially with the strong team that we have. My focus has been on the one-day Classics recently so it's a good chance to get back into stage racing," Hermans confirmed.

Tour de Yorkshire will also be the first race back for both Rohan Dennis and Michael Schär who have been recovering from illness and injury respectively.

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis

Tour de Yorkshire (29 April - 1 May)

Rider roster: Rohan Dennis (AUS), Floris Gerts (NED), Ben Hermans (BEL), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Michael Schär (SUI), Manuel Senni (ITA), Rick Zabel (GER).

Sports Directors: Jackson Stewart (USA), Allan Peiper (AUS)

Giro d'Italia team line-ups announced

Here's Giant-Alpecin's Giro squad news

Team Giant-Alpecin is pleased to announce its final nine-rider line-up for the first Grand Tour of the 2016 season, the Giro d’Italia, which starts in Apeldoorn on May 6.

The team announced last week that Tom Dumoulin (NED) would definitely be lining up for his first Giro d'Italia, and he will be joined by a strong team with riders who can take their chances in the sprints and also in the breakaways if and when the opportunities arise.

“I am really looking forward to the Giro d’Italia this year,” Dumoulin said. “It will be my first Giro and with the start in The Netherlands, it is going to be extra special. I think it is going to be a fantastic race to participate in. I will be focusing primarily on the time trials, as they provide a greater opportunity for success."

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin at the Tour de Romandie

Team Giant-Alpecin will also be targeting the sprints with Nikias Arndt (GER), where in the first week there should be different opportunities for a bunch sprint. The opportunists in the line-up include Chad Haga (USA), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE) and Georg Preidler (AUT) who are all capable of getting in the breakaways and fighting for a stage victory as well as proving their strength against the clock.

Speaking about the line-up for the Giro, coach Marc Reef (NED) said: "Our target is to go for a stage victory. We'll have different opportunities in the time trials and the sprint stages. On top of that, we will apply an offensive strategy to aim for stage results from possible breakaways that survive until the finish."

HERE IS OUR LINE-UP: Nikias Arndt (GER), Bert De Backer (BEL), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Chad Haga (USA), Cheng Ji (CHN), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Georg Preidler (AUT), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Albert Timmer (NED)

Lotto-Soudal sent me this line-up press release:

The Classics have come to an end and the first Grand Tour of the year is just around the corner. The Giro d’Italia (6 May – 29 May) will start next week in Apeldoorn on Friday 6 May. Lotto Soudal has selected these nine riders: Lars Bak, Sean De Bie, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Pim Ligthart, Maxime Monfort, Jürgen Roelandts, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.

For Sean De Bie (24) this will be his first Grand Tour, quite a difference with Adam Hansen (almost 35) for whom this Giro is the fourteenth consecutive Grand Tour and the eighth Giro ever. Also for Lars Bak (36) it’s going to be the eighth Giro. Jürgen Roelandts (30) has experience when it comes to riding Grand Tours, but it will be the first time that he rides the Giro.

Sean de Bie

Sean de Bie

For Tim Wellens (almost 25), who has his birthday during the Giro just like Adam Hansen, this will be his second Giro participation. Pim Ligthart (27) and Jelle Vanendert (31) will take part in the Giro for the second time as well, while it will be the fourth Giro for André Greipel (33) and Maxime Monfort (33).  

China Bans E-Bike Use in Major Cities

Bike-Europe posted this news:

SHENZHEN, China – Recent legislation in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and coming soon to Shenzhen forbids the use of e-bikes across large swathes of the cities. Dr. David Hon was urged to write an open letter to the public, and to the government, speaking out against the regulations. The China Bicycle Association (CBA) responded with an official statement in support of Dr. David Hon.

China Bicycle Association (CBA) Director Ma Zhongchao stated that “for Shenzhen and other municipalities to take prohibitive action on e-bikes will have a profound and direct impact on local e-bike users.” See below for the full text of Dr. David Hon open letter.

“The ‘one size fits all’ approach reflects lazy political thinking and we have seen more examples of this simple and crude solution,” Ma Zhongchao wrote. “The bicycle industry has strongly expressed its opposition to such legislation in the past and has repeatedly stressed that local governments and authorities should think twice, act intelligently and with greater courage to address urban management problems.”

“Cities need tangible measures to protect the legitimate rights of way of various means of transport, avoiding costly, car-centric systems”, Ma Zhongchao continued. “The ban on e-bikes has caused widespread discontent and confusion among the Chinese population. The decision is particularly harmful to the poor and appears entirely at odds with the government’s stated policy to promote green energy and cut pollution. There is no reason to forbid the use of e-bikes. Experience in many other countries such as Sweden and Denmark have shown, that China should encourage the use of bicycles, traditional or electric ones, to help reduce car traffic and smog.

The prohibitive action on e-bikes will have a profound and direct impact on local e-bike users,” said China Bicycle Association (CBA) Director Mr. Ma Zhongchao.

Today some 700 Chinese companies manufacture e-bikes. According to China Bicycle Association (CBA), the top ten e-bike companies accounted for 47% of the total production in 2014. China has some 200 million e-bikes running on the road totaling CNY 100 billion (14bn euro) in value, a tenfold increase from 2005. The value of the entire upstream and downstream industry chain has reached CNY 200 billion (28bn euro).

You can read the full story, including the full text of Dr. Hon's letter here.

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