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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, August 27, 2016

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Those who say it can't be done are usually interrupted by others doing it. - James A. Baldwin

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Contador did start Vuelta stage 8

Despite his injuries, especially to his left leg, after crashing in stage 7, Alberto Contador did start Saturday's stage 8. He said this before the stage began, "The day after a crash, you never know and I'm going to have to wait a few kilometers to know. The wind is supposed to be tailwind and crosswind and I must be careful, that's why I trained on the rollers before the start. Since 80 percent of crashes take place in the last 3 km, it would be good for the UCI to think about neutralizing the times in the last three km."

Vuelta a España stage 7 news

Here's the post from stage winner Jonas van Genechten's IAM Cycling:

THE EXCLAMATION: From Jonas Van Genechten: “It’s more than great because I was not expecting I could win here.”

THE FACT OF THE DAY: IAM Cycling’s 16th win of the 2016 season became a reality thanks to Jonas Van Genechten, who mastered the final three hundred meters of false flat that preceded the finish line of the 7th stage of La Vuelta.

THE EXPLANATION: Again given by Jonas Van Genechten: “I was struggling on the first few hundred meters of the final categorized climb. After that, the climb was always rolling.  In the last two kilometers, we had really to jostle and fight for position.  At the exit of the chicane leading to the small final slope, I positioned myself perfectly. I didn’t waste any time from there, and I tried to put all my power into my pedals. And then to beat guys like Valverde and Gilbert in a finish like this makes it all the more beautiful.”

THE QUOTE: From Clément Chevrier. “Ever since the beginning of this Vuelta, we have been using all our strengths and listening to our directeurs who have been asking that we always remain on the offensive. Today, we have been well rewarded for all our efforts. After Vegard Stake Laengen went in the break, I put my nose out into the wind on the last climb. And then finally, it was Jonas Van Genechten who was able to put the icing on the cake.”

Jonas van Genechten

Jonas van Genechten wins Vuelta stage 7

THE ANALYSIS: Given by Eddy Seigneur, directeur sportif for IAM Cycling accompanied by Marcello Albasini and Mario Chiesa at La Vuelta: “We have wanted to win a stage since the start of the Vuelta. The team work has been perfect every day. And today we have succeeded in achieving our main goal for this grand tour. Success will only motivate the guys because we are very far from giving up and going home.  We didn’t succeed in getting the mountains jersey for Simon Pellaud, but we have been rewarded with this fantastic win from Jonas Van Genechten.”

THE EXPLOIT: IAM Cycling, a team that is racing its last season among the World Tour squads, has now managed to win a stage in all three grand tours in 2016. Kluge was first in the Giro Then came Pantano’s win at the Tour de France. And now Jonas Van Genechten has secured a victory in the Vuelta. Add to that the national champion for Switzerland is also an IAM Cycling rider, Jonathan Fumeaux, and it is easy to understand that Michel Thétaz, founder of IAM Cycling, has had many sources of satisfaction since May.

THE MENU FOR THE DAY: The eighth stage will offer a long flat course for 173 kilometers before a final climb will punctuate the finish. Indeed the finish line will come at the end of an 8.5 kilometer ascent that offers an average gradient of 7.4%, but will pinch with steep passages closer to 25%. Suffice it to say that the contenders for overall victory will surely be tested ahead of two summit finishes that will be far more complicated at the Alto del Naranco and Lagos de Covadonga.

GC leader Darwin Atapuma's BMC squad sent me this:

26 August, 2016, Puebla de Sanabria (ESP): Philippe Gilbert sprinted to fourth place on a crash-marred uphill finale on stage 7 of the Vuelta a Espana, which saw Darwin Atapuma retain his overall lead.

The peloton let a six-rider breakaway go away and establish a maximum gap of 3'22", but they were kept on a tight leash with BMC Racing Team sharing the work at the front of the peloton to control the situation.

Astana Pro Team put the pressure on the peloton to create a split with 50km to go, which saw Samuel Sanchez caught behind, until some solid work from his teammates brought him back to the group. Multiple late attacks played out in the final 20km of racing, but it ultimately came down to a sprint finish with Jonas Van Genechten (IAM Cycling) taking the win.

Sanchez was caught up in the crash in the final kilometer of racing but escaped relatively unscathed and was awarded the same time as the General Classification group to remain in sixth place overall.

Stage 8 sees Atapuma enjoy his fourth day in the red jersey, with his lead dropping slightly to 24 seconds over Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team).

Darwin Atapuma

Darwin Atapuma gets another day in red.

Darwin Atapuma: "Today it was a fairly quiet stage for me because the team worked well and controlled the stage and let me conserve my energy. Like yesterday the breakaway wasn't a threat to the GC so we were happy to let them get away as long as they were kept at a realistic distance ahead. We reacted quickly when Astana Pro Team put the pressure on and we stayed calm to bring Samuel Sanchez back to the group. The only tricky and dangerous part was the finish and I needed to brake to avoid the crash, but I stayed alert and got to the finish line without any problems."

"I never thought that I would have the red jersey for 4 days as I have been taking things day by day. I'm very lucky to keep it for a fourth day but the most important thing for me is that I have good condition. The GC contenders are so strong here that I expected the overall leader to change but I am enjoying every moment in red for as long as I can keep it."

Philippe Gilbert: "There's not much to say really. I was fourth on today's stage so it was not really a good result. The main thing is that I have nothing wrong with me from the crash yesterday. I definitely missed this opportunity today to win the stage but but we will see for later. I'm not sure exactly which stage will be suited to be as we are now heading for the mountains and then the rest day, but a stage similar to today's is another good opportunity."

Alberto Contador's Tinkoff team sent me this update:

At the end of another, long hot and hard day at the Vuelta a España, the team finished the stage with mixed emotions as on the one hand, Daniele Bennati took the team’s first podium finish with a second place, while GC leader Alberto Contador crashed in the final kilometre. Alberto finished the stage, but the cuts to his jersey and shorts were a sign of a heavy fall.

With two riders making a strong bid for victory ahead of the peloton in the final kilometres, the pace at the front of the peloton was fast, and coming into the final it was TInkoff who led the pursuit, with Michael Gogl leading Daniele and Alberto in the wheels, out of trouble. However, after being swamped ahead of a late left hand bend, inside 500m to go, a clash of riders saw Alberto slide out into the barrier.

Alberto Contador

A scuffed-up Contador finished stage 7

After some initial checks from the doctors, Alberto gave some more insight into the crash: “With 800m to go I was very well positioned so I told Benna to go for the sprint. With 400m to go on a left corner I was hit by someone that likes braking a lot and crashed on my left side. I took a big hit on my calf and my quad, and in general I have extensive superficial wounds on the entire left side of my body. It hurts a lot but it seems that there’s nothing broken. We have a long transfer to the hotel of 120km now – I will rest for the night and tomorrow morning we will assess my situation.”

“As far as we know it’s just cuts and bruises, but he came down pretty hard and we’ll know more after he gets further checks,” explained Sport Director Sean Yates after the finish. “It looked like he got squeezed on the corner – he’s been caught out this season by being too far back, and today he was right up the front and still was involved, so it’s real bad luck.

“Most of the stage was quite straight forward, with a break of six away. Then suddenly with 40km to go Astana started to tear it up and reduced the peloton before putting two guys up the road. Behind, the sprinters teams were chasing hard. We knew the final was tricky so the plan was to have [Michael] Gogl and Benna leading Alberto at the end, which they did, and then Benna finished with a strong sprint to take second.

“The guys were where they needed to be when it mattered today and stuck to the plan at the end. For Alberto, we will know more later – it’s not ideal timing with three tough stages coming up, so we keep our fingers crossed.”

After a flurry of early attacks, the day’s break pulled clear with six riders forming the move. After establishing a decent lead, they were pegged back in the second half of the stage and caught with 43km to race, as teams pushed on ahead of the late climbs on the stage. The expected attacks came and a five rider group formed, from which the final two moved clear.

The gap was hovering between 10 – 20 seconds for some time in the final kilometres, and even with 1km to go they had 14 seconds. However, after a strong push at the front of the peloton the race came back together, with a small group moving clear ahead of the crash involving Alberto. Daniele pushed hard but couldn’t get past on the drag to the line.

And here's LottoNL-Jumbo's Vuelta news:

Team LottoNL Jumbo rider Victor Campenaerts was in the escape of the day during the seventh stage of the Vuelta a España. The Belgian joined five other riders. In the last 50 kilometers, the peloton closed the gap and it became a sprint in Puebla de Sanabria. Belgian Jonas Vangenechten (IAM Cycling) won the stage and Darwin Atapuma (BMC) retained the lead.

"The plan was to have a rider in the breakaway and we succeeded," said Sports Director Addy Engels. "Koen Bouwman made the first escape, but that group was caught quickly. Then the break of the day left and we had Victor Campenaerts in it.

"It's a gamble on a good outcome if you go in these kind of stages in the breakaway. It's always wait and see what the sprinters' teams will do, but you have to make the break to have a chance. The sprinters' teams put men in the lead and the gap remained around three minutes. Then you try to ensure that the leading group maintains some reserves to accelerate in the final, but when Astana leads the peloton you know it's over."

Victor Campenaerts: "I felt good and was happy that I could go along with the escape," said Campenaerts. "Of course, you hope that the sprinters' teams are not interested in this stage. But if you see the gap remains the same, you know that the peloton is controling the break. With only 40 kilometers to go, suddenly there was the pack and I tried with Mate (Cofidis) to stay as long as possible in front, but that was just for fun. With Astana on the front and with 40 kilometres to go,  you know it does not make sense anymore."

"I have a good feeling and I hope that I can hold this the coming weeks, I look forward to the time trial in the last week. I wonder how my legs will feel in my first grand tour."

Tomorrow: "Today, we managed to lose no time with George Bennett, tomorrow we have the same goal," Engels said. "Tomorrow is for the GC. We will ride tomorrow as a team for George Bennett with the hope that he stays in the GC. But if that does not happen, we'll come up with another plan."

Engels added that the plans had to be reviewed after the loss of Kruijswijk.

Peter Sagan will be back on the road

Tinkoff sent me this news:

Following a break after the Tour de France, and a trip to Rio to compete on the mountain bike at the Olympic Games, this year’s Green Jersey winner, Peter Sagan, returns to the road at the one-day Bretagne-Classic Ouest France. Peter leads the team at this WorldTour race as he looks to extend his lead in the UCI WorldTour individual rider rankings, looking for a result at this tough French race.

His first race back for the team since Paris at the end of July, Peter will be joined by a strong support team including his brother Juraj, 10th place finisher at the Tour de France, Roman Kreuziger, and the winner of this month’s Tour of Denmark, Michael Valgren. The roster is then completed by Adam Blythe, Pavel Brutt, Oscar Gatto and Michael Kolar.

Looking ahead to the race, Peter said "I’m looking forward to getting back on the road after Rio. The Olympics was a great experience and it’s a shame that luck wasn’t on my side on the day as I feel I was capable of much more. I’m really keen to start the last part of the season with Tinkoff and hopefully pick up from where we left off at the Tour de France, finishing Oleg Tinkov's final year as a team owner in style."

peter Sagan

Peter Sagan winning Tour de France stage 16

The race, covering the rolling roads of south Brittany, takes in some of the roads covered in the 2000 Plouay World Road Race Championships, with a change to the route used in previous years here. The new course shouldn’t alter the outcome of the race, with the fight for victory often a fine balance between a breakaway staying clear and a reduced bunch fighting for the win.

Sport Director, Patxi Vila, was cautious to see how the UCI world road race champion’s return goes, saying: “Our first plan is to support Peter as this race suits his strengths, however, we will see how he is feeling after Rio and the jetlag too. His training since the Tour was focused on preparing for the mountain bike race, but we will still go into the race with him as our first option, looking to take as many WorldTour points as possible.

“For us it will be crucial to have Oscar, Valgren and Roman with Peter at the end – that’s the perfect scenario, and if Juraj can be there too then it’s even better. With Oscar, Valgren and Roman we have a strong plan B if Peter isn’t feeling great and we can go for a result with these guys.”

The race covers a new 234km route before entering the same finishing circuit as before, with 4km between the top of the final climb to the finish. “With the new course, it will be a new race for everyone, but the roads will be typical of Brittany – tough, narrow roads – so it won’t be easy,” Vila continues. “There’s 2,900m of climbing too; it’s always a hard day out at this race but we have a strong team to go for a result here.”

Tour du Poitou-Charentes news

This came from LottoNL-Jumbo:

Team LottoNL-Jumbo won the points jersey, the youth jersey and the team classification at Tour du Poitou Charentes this week. In the last stage, Tom Asbroeck sprinted to sixth. The sprint in the streets of Poitiers was won by the Italian Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani) ahead of Ben Swift (Team Sky) and Romain Feillu (Auber 93). Sylvain Chavanel won the general classification and Wilco Kelderman finished second overall.

In the last stage, between Thouars and Poitiers, a couple of escapes went free but the bunch with 40 men prepared for the sprint behind. "The lead out was not perfect, Van Asbroeck got stuck in the front and couldn’t sprint for the victory,” Sports Director Frans Maassen.

It was the third time Van Asbroeck sprinted to a finish in the top six, counting his stage win in the second stage. His good results earned him the points jersey.

Wilco Kelderman finished second in the GC behind the experienced Sylvain Chavanel. The GC was mainly settled in the time trial in the fourth stage, where Kelderman finished 30 seconds behind the Frenchman. "I had expected that Chavanel would go fast, but I didn’t know the he would beat me by 30 seconds,” Kelderman said. "The race was not difficult enough in the final stage, for me it would have been better if there was a mountain in it.

Wilco Kelderman finished in the peloton and maintained his second place, which also helped him take home the white jersey. "It's nice that I won a jersey. It was a beautiful race with the stage win of Van Asbroeck and we won the points jersey and the team classification. That makes for a good atmosphere in the team."

Maassen knew it would be difficult to win the GC in the last stage. “Before the time-trial, I said that whoever beats Oliveira would win the race, Wilco did it with a minor difference. But Chavanel rode even harder. And, the gap was too big to overcome in the last stage.

“I have seen a good team all week, which is nice if you are the sport director behind them,” Maassen added. "With a stage victory, the team classification, second place in the overall standings and two jerseys you should definitely be satisfied. Now on our way to the next objective, the GP Plouay-Bretagne, hopefully we can do something beautiful there."

And Bardiani-CSF sent me this:

The golden moment of Sonny Colbrelli and Bardiani-CSF is not finished yet. Today at Tour du Poitou-Charantes, fifth and final stage from Thouras to Poitier (171 km), the key rider of #GreenTeam has won the photo-finish sprint beating Swift thanks to a strong thrust of the back. Third place for Feillu (Auber93) while Chavanel (Direct Energie) has won the overall classification.

“This success is the outcome of the strong desire that #GreenTeam has to continue our winning period” said Colbrelli. “Since the meeting on the bus this morning we were confident to have good chance today, but in the finale not every factors worked in the right way. Rota and Andreetta, who were supporting me in the head of the bunch, have been involved in a crash. Only thanks to Boem and Barbin, who did an extra effort after 150 km breakaway, I didn’t lose any position. At 500 meters, the biggest problem - the rider in front of me crashed and I had to re-launch the sprint. Swift did a great comeback, but was not enough”.

Colbrelli’s fourth win in 2016 (and 13th as pro-rider) comes after two successes at Tour du Limousin and it’s a clear signal of the great form he achieved during last weeks. “Without any doubts I’m enjoying a great moment and my teammates the same. Three wins in eight days of race it’s a top result, more than I expected. Of course this doesn’t mean that are enough. My goal is presenting to Bardiani-CSF a great final part of the season. We all need to stay focused doing our best, starting from Sunday at Bretagne Classic” added Colbrelli.

After eight month of races, Bardiani-CSF’s wins are now ten - besides recent successes in France, GP of Lugano with Colbrelli, stage at Settimana Coppi and Bartali with Pirazzi, stage at Giro d’Italia with Ciccone, three stages at Tour of Austria with Ruffoni and Simone Sterbini.

Industry vets to set up "high volume" carbon bike factory in Arkansas

This news was posted in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (BRAIN) — A group of industry veterans is setting up a high-volume carbon bike factory in Little Rock, using equipment purchased from Montréal's Guru Cycles, which went bankrupt last year. The group, doing business as HIA Velo, also purchased the Cyclart bike painting business, which is being moved to Arkansas. HIA Velo will release its own bike brand next year and expects to manufacture for other brands as well. HIA is an acronym for "Handmade in America."

HIA Velo's owners are Tony Karklins (the founder of Orbea USA), Douglas Zell (a longtime cyclist and founder of Intelligentsia Coffee) and Sam Pickman (an 11-year veteran of Specialized's senior engineering team). The company also has hired Chris Meertens, a former composite parts developer at Specialized, who joins as HIA Velo's senior composites engineer. Olivier Lavigueur, who worked in the Guru composite department for nearly 11 years, joins HIA Velo as its composites production manager. David Woronets, the founder of Zen Fabrication in Portland, Oregon, joins as HIA Velo's metal product and production manager. Zen shut down its OEM production earlier this year.

Karklins is the founder and managing director of HIA Velo. He purchased the Guru assets in February.

You can read the entire story here.

Vittoria lowers pricing for 2017

This came from Bike-eu:

MADONE, Italy – Vittoria is lowering its prices for 2017. With the release of the company’s new price list the company says it is, “Reducing already competitive pricing across the range of tyres. Simultaneously, Vittoria is aligning its pricing globally for consistency.”

Vittoria’s new price strategy which is to make sure that prices  are on the same level all around the world looks to be triggered by growing Internet sales. And in particular the price cuts offered by webshops that are putting pressure on the brand’s distribution channels.

Vittoria COO Willem Campagne says on the new price strategy, “A global pricing approach is a key instrument to protect both the independent bicycle dealers and the consumers with the right value for Vittoria products. By aligning the prices at these new levels, Vittoria creates a unified and global standard. This approach protects and supports our bicycle retail partners worldwide, as it reduces the room for price fluctuations significantly.”

For an explanation on why Vittoria as a leading high-end bicycle tyre manufacturer is lowering its prices with double digit percentages depending on specific models, the company states, “In the current challenging market, brands commonly raise their distributor and/or dealer pricing to compensate for reduced demand. Vittoria in contrast caters to the wishes of consumers worldwide by reducing prices. This ensures continued demand as well as stability of Vittoria product sales for all our distribution partners globally. Vittoria is putting a firm stake in the ground, taking a progressive approach to offer incentives to stabilize pricing, thus maintaining the global value of products in the market.”

René Timmermans, Vittoria’s CEO EMEA, furthers with, “Vittoria is known for its innovative and high-quality performance products. By lowering and aligning the pricing, Vittoria can consistently ensure both the product value for its price as well as its competitiveness across all markets. This is a win for the distributor, independent bicycle dealer and the consumer alike.”

You can read the entire story here.

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