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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, December 2, 2016

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you. - Anonymous

Latest completed racing:

Bum knee forces Tom Veelers to retire

Giant-Alpecin sent me this unhappy news:

A persisting knee injury forces Tom Veelers (NED) to quit cycling at the end of the current season. The 32-year-old Dutchmen - still under contract with Team Sunweb in 2017 - has been battling ongoing knee problems from the 2015 pre-season and has undergone two operations in an attempt to recover. However, progress has been slow and hopes for a full recovery have now faded. After extensive talks with the team, Veelers has decided to end his active cycling career and use his drive and experience to start a new chapter in his life - within the team. Veelers will extend his commitment to the team and will use the upcoming period to orientate for a function within the team’s coaching staff and in the team’s headquarters.

Veelers turned professional with the team in 2008 and can look back on a glorious career where he took four professional victories. Maybe even more impressive was his development as a lead-out rider in the sprint preparation and together with his teammates led the sprinters to many victories, including eight Tour de France stages, three Giro d’Italia stage wins and a stage victory in the Vuelta a España. Having fast legs, Veelers proved it with the third place in the sprint on stage four of the 2014 Tour de France. From the classics, Paris-Roubaix suited him best with a 13th place in 2010 as a highlight.

"I came to the conclusion that I can’t live any longer in an uncertainty of returning to the highest level or not, without real progression in the recovery," said Veelers. "The last one and a half years have been tough, battling recovery. The realization that my career could have ended came gradually, and accelerated when we started talking about the future and the arising opportunity within the team.

"I look back on my career very proudly and happily. I am blessed with the chances I’ve had and we’ve created as a team. Together we grew and have experienced a lot. As a person I’ve developed, learned life lessons and I gained confidence. In the team I learned to function as a real team, with great cooperation. This was something completely new to me at that time and this approach brought us a lot of success, and still does.

Tom Veelers

Tom Veelers in 2014. Photo: Jérémy-Günther-Heinz Jähnick

“Of course I would have loved to continue racing for some years, but I don’t see any other possibility than to stop. I am a thoughtful person and the decision hasn't been made overnight. This step will mean a new chapter in my life and I am very much looking forward to it. I am happy to add my value to the team in a new way now and thinking about the future gives me a new energy."

CEO Iwan Spekenbrink (NED) added: “It’s difficult to see a career of such a sportsmen end in this way. The progression Tom has made is impressive and together we reached the first highlights in the history of the team - where Tom played a major role. He is a real culture carrier in the team and we’re very happy and proud that we will continue to work together. Tom supports our philosophy and our approach to modern cycling and we have a lot of mutual respect for each other.

"He will be a huge asset as he brings plenty of experience and knowledge, which he can share within the team. Next to that, Tom has been riding with the team for nine years and he has a great working relationship with everyone. We are pleased that Tom extends his commitment as he has the potential to become a valuable member of our staff."

Team physician Anko Boelens (NED) explained Veelers' injury: "Tom has been fighting knee pain caused by a cartilage defect on the patella-femoral joint, between the patella and the femur. To overcome his injury, Tom underwent two surgeries to fix the defect cartilage. In addition, he did physiotherapy, as well as treatments from the chiropractor. Unfortunately, he is still suffering from pain in the knee and he is unable to put pressure on the affected area, and as a consequence needs to end his professional career."

Cycleurope starts E-Bike production in Sweden

Bike-Eu-com sent me this news:

VARBERG, Sweden – The Cycleurope factory in Sweden has opened its first assembly line for e-bikes. “It is more profitable to start e-bike production locally instead of importing them from Taiwan,” said Tony Grimaldi, President and CEO of Cycleurope this week.

The e-bike is gradually gaining market share on the Nordic markets, including Sweden. Even for mobility in the country’s capital the e-bike is becoming an alternative to cars. “We expect a production of 8,000 units in 2017,” explained Grimaldi in a report this week in the regional Swedish newspaper ‘Hallands Nyheter’. According to the report the Varberg facility has an output of 100,000 bicycles annually.   

You can read the entire story here.

Drapac Pat's Veg team announces roster for 2017

The team sent me this release:

The Drapac Pat’s Veg Holistic Development Team announced today its 10 riders for the 2017 season. The team also serves as the official development program of the Cannondale-Drapac professional team.

Drapac Pat’s Veg is a platform for individuals to pursue university degrees or professional certifications in addition to racing on the UCI Continental level. In addition to the early calendar in Australia, the team will also compete in Europe later in the season. Drapac Pat’s Veg is based in Australia.

“Michael and I share the same philosophy regarding athlete development. Results are important, sure, but so is offering a racer the chance to pursue education and personal development outside of the sport,” said Jonathan Vaughters, the CEO of Slipstream Sports and head of the Cannondale-Drapac team. “You can identify WorldTour level talent while at the same time allowing these riders time to take classes and explore their options not only as bike racers. I think the element of having physical and intellectual focuses can actually help in terms of performance.”

The team, made up of university students from all around Australia, will start the season at The 2017 Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships in January before racing at Australia’s oldest stage race, the UCI 2.2-ranked Jayco Herald Sun Tour in February.

Melbourne University student Cyrus Monk, who has had an excellent year on the bike, is one of five current Pat’s Veg riders who have re-signed with the team for the 2017 season. In addition to achieving his first win in Europe at the Slag Van Ambacht in Holland, Monk recently won Melbourne University’s 2016 Male Athlete of the Year.

Liam White, a Federation University student studying a bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science, is another continuing member of the team for 2017.  In 2016, White spent time racing in the United States where won the third day of racing and took third overall at the Intelligentsia Cup in Chicago.

Oliver Kent-Spark, who has spent the last year racing in Europe with Irish based continental team An-Post Chain Reaction, is a new signing to Drapac Pat’s Veg in 2017. The 23-year-old, who won the 2014 Melbourne to Warrnambool, is looking forward to pursuing his management degree at Deakin University while racing back in the domestic scene.

Michael Drapac, chairman of Drapac Capital Partners, and owner of the Drapac Pat’s Veg Holistic Development Team, has always been a firm believer in the importance of both athletic achievement and personal development. “It is vital that developing cyclists also reach their potential off the bike, to grow the foundations for their success away from sport,” Drapac said. “The Drapac Pat’s Veg program encourages and supports our riders to do just that.”

In addition to title sponsors Drapac Capital Partners and Pat’s Veg, the team is supported by: Mercedes Benz Toorak and Physiotherapy and Wellbeing group, Pain.com.au. Cannondale will supply bikes.

Drapac Capital Partners and Slipstream Sports, the management company of Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling, announced a partnership in June 2016, making Drapac the co-title sponsor of the professional team.

2017 Drapac Pat’s Veg Holistic Development Team:

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