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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, February 14, 2016

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

This is the year 2016. I will share equally in the housework. You just do the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning, the vacuuming and the dishes and I'll do the rest - like wandering in the yard with a beer, wondering what to do. – Art Manning

Racing today:

Alberto Contador to lead Tinkoff at Volta ao Algarve

Tinkoff sent me this release:

Tinkoff will be on the start line of the Portuguese, five-stage, race with a strong and motivated squad, built around team leader, Alberto Contador. For Head Sport Director, Steven de Jongh, the Volta ao Algarve will be a valuable season-opener and a good preparation for the upcoming races.

On Thursday, Alberto Contador talked in depth about his form, motivation and eagerness to start competing in full earnest. Contador feels more motivated than ever and eager to kick off a very important and exciting season in what considers to be a nice and competitive race with a strong field.

Alongside Alberto Contador, Tinkoff will lineup at the start of the Volta ao Algarve, Robert Kiserlovski, Jesús Hernández, Sergio Paulinho, Ivan Rovny, Yuri Trofimov, Matteo Tosatto and Michael Valgren.

Sergio Paulinho

Sergio Paulinho will be on the startline at the Portuguese stage race

According to Steven de Jongh, "Alberto is in good shape after a sound winter training period. We will approach this race as a good preparation for him and the rest of the squad but we, obviously, are a top, professional team and we have ambitions every time we compete. The main goal is to obtain the best possible GC result for Alberto, although, this being his first race in a long season, I wouldn't like to put too much pressure on him. For me, it is important to have a good start to the year".

The 42nd edition of the Volta ao Algarve will feature two stages with mountain finishes, one individual time-trial and two stages designed for sprinters.

"The race will open with a nearly-flat 163.6km dash from Lagos to Albufeira", commented de Jongh. "I expect to see a really fast finish where the best sprinters will be battling for the first win".

"The second one is surely the queen stage. It is nearly 200km long, from Lagoa to Fóia, the highest point of Algarve at 904m. On the last 67 km the riders will tackle three third-category climbs, before attacking the finish, at the top of a first-category climb, 7.5 km long with a 6% average incline", said de Jongh.

An individual time-trial is on schedule in the third stage. The route, 18km around Sagres, will see riders tackle a technical initial stretch of 4.5 km. Strong winds could be an extra challenge thrown to the peloton.

"Sprinters will have their second chance in the fourth stage", commented de Jongh. "The initial 100 km of the total 194 km from São Brás de Alportel to Tavira are undulating but the rest is quite flat".

De Jongh considers the final stage to be a very busy one for all riders as the yellow jersey will be on their mind. "The battle begins in Almodôvar and ends, after 169 km, at the top of Malhão, a second-category climb, 2.5km long with and an average gradient of 9.4%. At 45 km from the final, riders will pass for the first time at Malhão, before a hilly terrain that resembles the Spring Classics, with short but steep ascents", said de Jongh.

For de Jongh, the final 2.5km, ascending to the top of Malhão are expected to be really exciting. "We will see a huge crowd, this is the day of Algarve Granfondo, and an incessant struggle for the yellow jersey and stage win among the peloton!"

Richie Porte will lead BMC at Tour of Oman

BMC sent me this news:

13, February 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA): Richie Porte is set to captain BMC Racing Team's eight-rider roster at the Tour of Oman from February 16-21.

It will be Porte's first time racing with his seven teammates since joining the team for the 2016 season, BMC Racing Team Sports Director Fabio Baldato said.

Having started the season at the Santos Tour Down Under, Porte is looking forward to racing in Oman before his European racing program kicks off. "We've got a really solid team for the race so it will be nice to finally race together in the BMC Racing Team kit. It's also good opportunity to get a couple more race days in the legs before I start racing in Europe."

Richie Porte

Richie Porte having a good day at teh 2016 Tour Down Under

Rider Roster: Jempy Drucker (LUX), Michael Schär (SUI), Daniel Oss (ITA), Richie Porte (AUS), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Joey Rosskopf (UA), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Rick Zabel (GER).

Sports Director: Fabio Baldato (ITA)

Giant Bicycle USA to sell direct online by August

Bicycle Retailer and Industry News posted this:

NEWBURY PARK, Calif. (BRAIN) — Giant USA’s general manager John Thompson told Giant dealers Thursday that it will sell bicycles directly to consumers who will collect their purchases at a Giant store.

Giant Gear also will be sold online under a similar system, except the products will be drop-shipped directly to customers and Giant will handle returns without involving dealers. The local store will get 100 percent of the regular margin on the accessory purchase if they stock the product and 80 percent if they don’t.

Giant USA is rolling out a beta version of its program in March with a small group of Giant Retail Partner Stores. The company will use a platform provided by SmartEtailing. “Once we’ve refined our tools and processes, by August we plan to implement our omnichannel strategy to the entire U.S. market,” Thompson said in email sent to Giant dealers.

Click here for the entire story.

Specialized announces layoffs

Specialized Bicycle Components is reducing its workforce as it makes substantial changes. The iconic bicycle company has announced that it will cut its global employment by three percent.

Regarding the reorganization, Mike Sinyard, Specialized's founder and CEO said, "We are tightening up our structure and focusing on three key areas: innovation, marketing and supply chain.

"We are investing in new R&D space in Switzerland, Taiwan and Morgan Hill that will keep us at the forefront of cycling innovation. We are focusing on marketing that will expand the global market for our brand and help our retailers drive traffic and sales. And finally, we are investing in our supply chain to ensure we are delivering the best product at the best price to riders and our retailers. All of this is an investment in our future.

"We have made the difficult but necessary decision to reduce the number of employees and realign the organization. Our employees are, and have always been, what make this brand so special. This decision, and the impact on our teammates, is of course very hard."

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