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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, January 9, 2016

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

Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens. - Jimi Hendrix

LottoNL-Jumbo team presented

This extended piece came from the team:

Focus is key for LottoNL-Jumbo in 2016: The combined cycling and ice skating squad Team LottoNL-Jumbo presented its 27 cyclists today with the overall job of winning more races in 2016. The lead-out for the sprinters will be an important part of that target, but the support for the classification riders has increased as well. What is also clear is that the collaboration with the ice skating team delivered interesting insight and commercial opportunities.

2016 LottoNL-Jumbo

2016 LottoNL-Jumbo team. Matching sneakers are a nice touch.

“Since the team building camp with the Dutch Royal Army last November, we are carrying out our 2018 vision," team director Richard Plugge said. “Our visions came closer together during those days. We noticed that during the training camp in December that the atmosphere in the group is great because of the fact that we can carry out our vision until 2018 with the support of our sponsors.”

The team changed the plan bringing it to an higher level and making specific choices. “We have to be focussed a lot more," he added. “We’re choosing the sprint first. We have three very good sprinters with Moreno Hofland, Dylan Groenewegen and Tom Van Asbroeck. It’s our job to make sure that those guys are at the right place in the right time. When we’re able to do that, they can win a lot of races.”

“The second part we’re focussing on is the group of the general classification riders," Plugge continued. Plugge will use the train principle to its maximum in every type of terrain and race towards 2018 when the whole plan has to be mature. “It’s also necessary to have a lead-out for our best climbers. We had such a lead-out, but it was not enough. We signed some riders for the upcoming season who are able to stay with our front men much longer than what we did last year. Primoz Roglic and Enrico Battaglin are the best examples. When we’re looking at the long term, we’re going to work with young talents like Koen Bouwman and Alexey Vermeulen. With those two cyclists we look to the future, the long game. We also improved our time trials massively last year. That’s an essential part of scoring results in stage races and we will keep on improving and developing it.”

There is still the classics team. “With Sep Vanmarcke, we have a world class rider in the spring classics on the cobble stones," Plugge explained. “And we have Mike Teunissen and Tom Van Asbroeck as well, our trumps in the spring classics. We have to use our lead-out for the sprint as well for bringing Sep in good position in the spring classics.

“I think that we have a stronger team for the spring classics this year. Jos van Emden, Robert Wagner, Tom Leezer, Maarten Wynants and Maarten Tjallingii already proved that they’re good at it at the WorldTour level. Our team improved especially in the second line this year.

“The collaboration with the ice skating team is developing good, as well”, Plugge continued. “We’re doing more and more together. Sven Kramer will join us at our training camp this month, that’s a good example of our developed collaboration. The coaches are consulting a lot with each other and the two teams are sharing more and more commercially, as well. The teams are growing with each other. Together we keep on looking for the best possibilities in aerodynamics, we’re talking about testing muscle strength, and we learn from each other in regards to food nutrition and using supplements.”

Jac Orie, head coach and director for the ice skating team, agrees with the knowledge sharing among the coaches. “It becomes easier to ask each other questions,” he explained. “It’s indeed a nice example that Sven is joining the cycling team on their training camp. Sven needs to do another block of endurance training. This training camp is a nice opportunity for him. We looked at the training programme of the cyclists and we compared that with Sven’s plans. We chose a couple of training sessions that they can do together afterwards.”

Nico Verhoeven, Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s technical sports director, is able to look confidentially forward to the 2016 cycling season. “Most races will be won in the sprint," he said. “We built up some experience with creating a perfect lead-out when Theo Bos was part of our team. We’re going to focus more on that part of racing. With Moreno Hofland, we have a very good sprinter and with Dylan Groenewegen we have another trump this year. Tom Van Asbroeck is a third one who should be able to win stages in the sprint. The whole team must be prepared to sprint because we will approach a lot of races like that.

“We’re talking about a mountain stage lead out as well this season. That means that we’re dividing during mountain stages. When Gesink is our front man, he needs somebody to stay with him until the end. Until we reach that point of the race, everyone in the team has a specific task. Every rider has to know what is expected from him and together they form kind of a train as well. When you look at that point, you know why we signed Primoz Roglic. He fits perfectly in that philosophy and can be very worthy for us.”

"In the spring classics, we have very clear goals. Before Sep Vanmarcke joint our team, we already had a good team around Lars Boom. Some riders of that time, are still with the team now. Sep is now our leader and the other guys know what to do . We want to win a classic this year and in the monuments classics, Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix we are targeting at least the podium. The bar should be set high as does Sep for himself. We deal in all stage races in which to sprint for a stage win with Moreno and Dylan and furthermore we want to score in the World Tour with Steven Kruijswijk, Wilco Kelderman and Robert Gesink. Last year we achieved two top 10 places in grand tours. This year we want to get involved in every major race in the struggle for positions 3 to 8. "

Robert Gesink: “I moved to Spain this winter, I still had a fairly relaxed winter. The coaches gave me a little more space in my training programme this time and everything still went great. I’ll try to have my first peak of the season during the Tour of Catalonia, the Vuelta al País Vasco and the Ardennes classics. After that period, my preparation for the Tour de France and the Olympic Games starts. Those two races are of course my biggest goals.”

Dylan Groenewegen: “My first months with Team LottoNL-Jumbo were great. The teambuilding with the land forces was fun. I like the atmosphere in this team. I get along with everyone.

“My cycling season starts on February 3 in Valencia. I will participate in the Volta ao Algarve, the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne among other things afterwards. I hope to win more races than I did last year, five or six victories is my target. Besides that, I have some hope to start the Vuelta a España for my debut in a grand tour.”

Sep Vanmarcke: “I underwent surgery on my wrist late in November, but I recovered from that without any problems. I’ve had a good pre-season this winter. I slowed down a bit this off-season. My race schedule changed some and I did everything to make sure that I will start the most important races as fresh as possible. The Flemish classics and Paris-Roubaix are of course my biggest targets this season, but I will do Milano-Sanremo and the Amstel Gold Race for the first time. I expect to be able to compete with the best in Milano-Sanremo. After the spring classics, I will support the climbers or possibly a sprinter in the Tour de France. In the last part of the season, there is another clutch of nice races. I’m aiming for good results in Canada, the Eneco Tour and the world championships in Qatar.”

Moreno Hofland: “The Dutch championships and the Tour de France are my most important targets this season. I want to be strong immediately in the beginning of the season because that works the best for me. That means that the races in Qatar and Oman, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the Volta Limburg Classic, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Scheldeprijs are immediately important for me. After that period, we’re going to decide if I will ride the Tour de France or the Vuelta a España.

“I’m in good condition. I struggled with some back problems at the end of last season, but I took enough rest and did some necessary exercises to build my core stability.”

Steven Kruijswijk: “I have two goals this season: the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España. I’ve decided to combine those grand tours deliberately. I was in good shape during last year’s Tour de France, but I was obviously a lot less strong than I was during the Giro. I didn’t like that. There’s just too little time between those races. I want to be at my best when I’m racing and do everything I can to arrive fit. When you want to peak for two big tours, you have to chose the Giro and the Vuelta. I already proved that the big tours suit me and I want to grab a good result in two of them in one year for the first time in my career. Training at altitude will be a part of my preparation for both tours so I won’t ride as many races as I did last year.”

Wilco Kelderman: “I was a little bit too eager last season and that’s why I didn’t make the most of it. That’s the most important lesson that last year taught me. I won’t participate in all the Ardennes Classics this year. I will only do the Flèche Wallonne. Besides that I will ride the Ruta del Sol, Paris-Nice, the Tour of Catalonia, the Tour de Romandie, the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de France. Those races suit me better.

“I’m going to train on altitude twice between those races, as well. I think that I’m ahead of where I was one year ago. I did some extra physical training. I did the right things this winter and I’m ready for the upcoming season.”

Tom Boonen eager to start 2016 Season

Tom Boonen is looking forward to the new racing season. The physical problems from his Abu Dhabi crash are behind him, except for the loss of hearing in his left ear. "That's annoying, but...preparing for the new season is going well."

Boonen is hungry for the new season, "I am training well, everything goes smoothly. Without any crashes or illness I will be ready for the classics."

Boonen's first race will be the Volta a Valenciana which begins February 3.

Tom Boonen

Sounds like the racing world will get the old Tom Boonen back.

Guru Cycles files for bankruptcy

Bicycle Retailer sent me this news:

St. LAURENT, Quebec (BRAIN) — High-end custom bike brand Guru Cycles Inc. has filed for bankruptcy in Montreal, listing liabilities of CA$1.1 million ($789,000). The company had told its dealers last month that it was restructuring following an expensive factory relocation last summer, coupled with a decrease in sales.

Last month, Guru owner Ted Matthews and vice president of sales Robert Pinazza declined to comment to BRAIN on the restructuring, which was announced in a letter to Guru retailers. They could not be reached on Monday.

Guru made the filing on Dec. 21. Court filings show Guru's major creditors include TD Bank ($370,000), Topkey China ($129,823), Ted Matthews ($88,854), Shimano Canada ($69,717), Dorel's Cycling Sports Group ($32,247), and Fibertek Composite ($23,093). Montreal's Litwin Boyadjian Inc. was named as the trustee.

In 2012, Guru sold its bike fitting technology and the Guru brand name to Dorel; Guru Cycles licenses the Guru brand back from Dorel.

Matthews led a group that invested in Guru in 2009, helping the company get out of difficult financial period triggered by the 2008 recession. Matthews served as the company's CEO until earlier this year when he became chairman of the board, while Lorenzo Salvaggio was named CEO.

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