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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, July 1, 2016

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Promises are like crying babies in a theater, they should be carried out at once. - Norman Vincent Peale

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Orica-GreenEdge become Orica-BikeExchange

The team sent me this update:

ORICA-GreenEDGE welcomes BikeExchange as a new naming rights sponsor on the eve of the Tour de France. Bike Exchange joins Orica as the Australian team’s major supporters, with the outfit adopting a new name – ORICA-BikeExchange – and new look for the biggest race of the year.

“We are thrilled to welcome BikeExchange onboard as a major, naming rights partner for our team,” team owner and creator Gerry Ryan OAM said. “It’s a pleasure for us to work with such a young and innovative company that has an Australian background but is very rapidly building into a real, global platform.”

“We are looking forward to help them develop their business together with the team and to bring our fans even closer to the joy of riding bikes and watching the biggest stars take the biggest races. 

“Our team has come a long way since its inception. We are now in our fifth season and we have developed into one of the youngest and most versatile rosters on the WorldTour. With BikeExchange as a new and very professional partner we are all looking forward to take the next, major steps.

“It's really exciting for us to start the biggest race of the season with a new partner and a new look.”

Orica-Bike Exchange kit

New Orica-BikeExchange kit

BikeExchange co-founder Jason Wyatt joined Ryan in announcing the partnership, and the commitment by both parties to continue showcasing cycling to people across the world. "We are humbled to be a part of such a wonderful team and culture,” Wyatt said. “This partnership cements our unique joint strategy and builds on our shared commitment to innovation, entrepreneurial thinking and teamwork.”

“The partnership helps tell the BikeExchange story; we support retailers, brands and riders to find buy and sell everything bike. We have been fortunate to be a part of the growth within the cycling industry and through our media platforms aim to share and contribute with the world, the beautiful story and sport that is cycling.

“Both businesses have a lot in common, so this next evolution just made sense. We share an Australian legacy and culture, and are now very much global in our pool of talent, our reach, approach and attitude. BikeExchange represents thousands of bike retailer members worldwide - associating our name with this team doesn’t just raise our profile, it supports our retail members and cycling community across the globe.”

Earlier this week ORICA-BikeExchange named their 2016 Tour de France team, identifying stage victories as the major goal for the three-week Grand Tour.

The Tour de France takes place from this Saturday, 2nd July and runs to the 24th of July covering 3,535 kilometres. It is the 103rd edition of the truly historic race and for the first time in history, it begins in the department of Manche in the region of Normandy.

Cannondale also gets new co-sponsor

The team sent me this:

Today, June 30, Drapac Capital Partners becomes the co-title sponsor of the Cannondale Pro Cycling team, managed by Slipstream Sports. The Drapac name and signature red hue will adorn the team’s jerseys immediately. The new team name is the Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team.

The sponsorship is a five-year deal that brings shared vision to the Cannondale Pro Cycling Team and marks an agreement between Drapac Capital Partners and Slipstream that goes well beyond pen and paper, as Drapac’s philosophy of preparing riders for lives after cycling is one Slipstream wholly supports and will enact at the WorldTour level.

New cannondale jersey

New Cannondale-Drapac jersey

"Michael Drapac and I have been friends for some time. I have always been impressed with his entrepreneurial vision and understanding of markets. However, what piqued my interest in partnering with Michael is his passion for helping athletes find their way through life in a healthier way,” Slipstream CEO Jonathan Vaughters said. “Although it’s seldom acknowledged, most professional cyclists have given up everything in order to pursue excellence in their sport. While commendable, this leaves them very vulnerable to an ever more complex world.”

Drapac is the chairman and founder of Drapac Capital Partners and now part owner of Slipstream Sports, in addition to serving as a board member. What began as a small investment in residential real estate while in university is now Drapac Capital Partners, a property funds management business. Drapac’s business efforts have garnered various sustainability awards — his company was the first property group to be a member of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment — and that mindset has transcended business.

“I’ve always been interested in sustainability, particularly cultural sustainability,” Drapac said. “Sustainability is being aware, responsible, and accountable for the full costs of what we do, and trying to minimize the impact of those costs. So a sustainable initiative, in business, cycling, anything, really, is about making an intention to be aware, accountable, and responsible. And making an intention to minimize the impact of what we do.

“We want to win bike races, but not at the expense of broader values. Sustainability in this sense is about ‘what are the broader values in the cycling team?’ We need to look at that. We want to win the Tour de France. We want to win Paris-Roubaix. But we also have other metrics by which we measure our success.”

One of those metrics will now be how riders fare after their racing careers are finished.

The partnership is a natural extension of both organizations’ ideals. The first team Vaughters managed and financially backed was 5280-Subaru, a junior development team. The founding of the Drapac program came from the idea that developing complete athletes as opposed to one-dimensional racers was a better way to run a cycling operation.

As part of its steadfast commitment to athlete well-being, the Cannondale-Drapac Professional Cycling Team will offer a service to its riders next season that encourages growth beyond the sport of cycling. Together with Crossing the Line Sport, an organization designed to assist athlete transitions out of professional competition, the pro team will offer workshops, individual counseling services, mentoring, and robust educational support to its riders.

It is the first program of its kind at WorldTour level. Crossing the Line Founder Gearoid Towey and Gayelene Clews, a psychologist who works with the firm, are former Olympic athletes themselves. Michael Drapac will oversee the wellness program internally as its executive vice president.

“It is our shared goal to be pioneers in the welfare of athletes in cycling. Having dealt with this personally, I know how hard it is and how close to the edge many riders feel,” Vaughters said. “Our joint venture will seek to help these highly talented individuals find their footing in all phases of their careers. This philosophy will not only help them later in life, but will enhance their performance here and now.”

The professional team will also offer a bridge to younger athletes on Drapac’s development team, Drapac-Pat’s Veg.

While little will change for the existing Drapac team in 2016, the partnering of the two teams in 2017 will see the bulk of the resources from the current Drapac Professional Cycling Team transitioned to Drapac-Pat’s Veg, the Continental-level development team announced earlier this year, while also providing the opportunity for a number of riders and staff to move to the WorldTour at Cannondale-Drapac.

Drapac-Pat’s Veg requires riders to either attend university courses or pursue professional-level certifications or apprenticeships. The team is structured to provide favorable racing schedules that allow racers to attend classes or pursue professions. Riders on the development team will be given every opportunity to make the WorldTour team. The development team will be a UCI Continental registered squad based in Australia that competes in Europe for part of the season. The program also stresses that riders take time to be involved in their communities.

“We need to teach our athletes to be whole. When the door of being an athlete closes, you would hope that they have the resources — financial and emotional — to transition to another phase of their lives. We need to understand that the human cost of professional sport is just horrific,” Drapac said. “That’s why I created the holistic development team.”

For Vaughters, the measures are a way to illustrate that success on the bike and off shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.

“Racing is a risky proposition, but knowing you have the knowledge and skills to find your way, no matter what, lets you embrace the bold decisions needed to win,” Vaughters said. "Taking the pressure off athletes all too accustomed to living contract to contract also encourages ethical decision making. And that has been the goal of Slipstream Sports, from its very inception. Welcome aboard, Drapac!"

Lotto-Soudal riders discuss the 2016 Tour

The team sent me this Tour preview:

The nine selected Lotto Soudal riders explain their role and ambitions for the upcoming Tour de France.

André Greipel, who turns 34 on 16 July, aims for an eleventh stage win in his sixth Tour de France.

“The run-up to this Tour has gone smoothly. In the first part of the season I had a difficult time because of an injury, but then I had a successful Giro and at the Tour de Luxembourg and Ster ZLM Toer I prepared for this race. Sunday I won the road race at the German Championships and I am really proud to wear that jersey again for one year. I came to the Tour with lots of confidence. Last year was wonderful with four stage wins, but Saturday we all start from scratch. The goal is to win at least one stage this edition and depending on when I achieve that one I can aim for another one. Saturday is the first opportunity, with the yellow jersey as extra reward for the winner. I can rely on the most experienced lead-out I’ve ever had, with Jürgen Roelandts who is part of my train again this year. The team is almost entirely built around me, the fact that the team has that much confidence in me, makes me happy.”

The Gorilla can count on Greg Henderson (39) once again, for whom this is the fifth Tour participation.

“I had a difficult spring, due to injuries, I’m happy that’s over now and that I can ride the Tour. Experience is of the utmost importance in the sprint, definitely at the Tour, and we have loads of experience in our team. Each team can select five good or even fast riders, but that’s not enough to win a stage. You need that experience. You have to do your homework, before the Tour and before every stage. You have to make a thorough study of the finish and discuss the tactics. A good timing is important as well, you need to move to the front on the right moment and trust each other 100%, know each other and know how the other will react. You need to be able to cope with the stress and pressure and keep cool. You win together and you lose together.”

Marcel Sieberg (34) is happy to help out his friend André Greipel during his seventh Tour.

“We would love to win the first stage and conquer that yellow jersey. In 2013 in Corsica and 2014 in Yorkshire there was already a chance to take the double, but then we didn’t succeed in it, one time because of mechanical problems. Hopefully luck is on our side this time. Jürgen Roelandts is part of our Tour team again, so we really have a strong lead-out. This will be my seventh Tour and taking yellow in the first stage would be a dream come true for me, André and the entire team. It’s one of the highest things you can achieve in cycling.”

Jürgen Roelandts, who turns 31 on the day of the first Tour stage, didn’t ride the Tour last year, but he’s back now for the sixth time ever.

“At first instance the Tour wasn’t part of my race schedule this year. I did the Giro together with André and then we started talking about the Tour. I was already thinking about riding the Tour again by that time. I had already told Jens Debusschere during our training rides that I would like to ride the Tour together. That will happen now, I’m looking forward to it. It was a really successful Giro with three stage wins for André and now we will hopefully have a successful Tour. We have a strong sprint train with Debusschere, Hansen, Henderson and Sieberg. We are one of the strongest trains in the world. The first stage is already important and I hope we can prove what we’re worth that day. It would be great to win more than one stage with the team, just like in the Giro. An early win on Saturday would lift the pressure, but that isn’t easy in the Tour.”

Adam Hansen (35) is about to start his fifteenth consecutive Grand Tour, his seventh Tour ever, which he hopes to complete.

“I have a double job: work for André and have a go of my own in other stages. Saturday we have an extra motivation, to conquer that yellow jersey. If everyone one can perform 110% and luck is on our side, then it could work. I hope that I can be part of a breakaway that gets to the finish in one of the stages. There will be opportunities in the second and third week. I’ve already won a stage at the Giro and Vuelta and it would be fantastic to add a Tour stage to that list. Maybe I quit the Tour afterwards (laughs). No, this is my fifteenth consecutive Grand Tour and of course I would love to reach Paris. For the second year in a row, we don’t have a GC rider in our team and that’s an advantage for me. Otherwise you always need to work for him. Now I can choose my moments to attack and stay quietly in the peloton for a day for example, to be fresh enough to join a breakaway the day after.”

Adam Hansen

Adam Hansen at this year's Tour Down Under

Jens Debusschere (26) rode La Grande Boucle for the first time in 2015 and this year he is again selected to defend the Lotto Soudal colours.

“The first week wasn’t easy for me last year. I crashed hard and bruised my hand. Despite the injury it was of course great to be part of such a successful team. My role will be comparable to last year, I will be a member of the sprint train. When there is a sprint André is our man, there is no doubt about it. Only in exceptional circumstances, when André isn’t part of the first group because of a certain reason, I will sprint, but we don’t assume that will happen. The first stage is a big opportunity for our team, which we are looking forward to. It’s always nice to win early in a stage race. The typical weather here in Normandy could cause some spectacle and that would be good for us.”

Thomas De Gendt (29), who isn’t scared to ride hard, can also show his capabilities in his fourth Tour ever.

“I came to the Tour with a good feeling. I tested the legs at the Belgian Time Trial Championships last Thursday and in the road race on Sunday I rode solo in front for a while. I am ready to give the best of me the next three weeks. My role will differ from day to day. In the sprint stages I will need to control the break and at the end I could help the guys of the sprint train by getting them well positioned into the last kilometres.  I can aim for a stage win myself in transition stages or in the mountains. Despite my rib injury last year I did came close a few times. Who knows I could also perform strong in one of the time trials. Wearing the polka-dot jersey is also a dream. I study the route of each stages. You need some luck to get in a break, but it also depends on other factors. Do I need to work for André the day after or have I already spent lots of energy the days before? I very much hope I won’t crash, in the past I already crashed two times on the first stage and also now it will be risky with the battle for the yellow jersey and the wind.”

28-year-old Tony Gallopin is about to start his sixth Tour ever. Just like Thomas De Gendt he did an altitude training camp in the Sierra Nevada to prepare for this time of the year. Tony is keen to show something in his home country.

“I would immediately sign for a Tour like 2014, where I won a stage and could wear yellow for one day. It’s my goal to win a stage again this year. I already looked at the road book and there are several opportunities for a rider like me, but I’ve learnt to see day by day and not to try to force anything. My experience of the past years has taught me how to cope with that. The second stage is indeed something for punchers, for riders who are suited for the Ardennes races. I hope that I can play a role on Sunday. A stage win with André in the first week would already take away some pressure, the sooner the better. 2015 was an incredible Tour for the team, with four victories from André. It’s really motivating to be part of a team that’s so close and strives for a common goal, but on the other hand it’s also stressful and demanding. The good atmosphere does outweigh the difficult moments, though. We can only hope for the best.”

Last but not least, Lars Bak (36) is also part of the Lotto Soudal line-up. The Danish rider crashed on the last day of the Giro, almost five weeks ago, and incurred a broken shoulder blade and six fractured ribs. Bak did have a speedy recovery, tested last week at Halle-Ingooigem and is ready for his sixth Tour.

“This is the sixth consecutive year I will ride the Tour. You will see me a lot at the head of the bunch, controlling the gap on the breakaway. There are other riders who will be part of the sprint train for André. With André and Tony we have two possible stage winners in our team, we can be sure of that. There is always pressure, but we have already achieved our goal in this kind of circumstances many times before. We have a lot of Tour experience and that’s an advantage as well. It’s a miracle that I got ready for the Tour after my crash at the Giro. The doctors gave me the all-clear. Physically I was probably better last year, but I am definitely capable of doing my work. I will make sure I take sufficient rest and take care of myself even more than other years. I will visit the doctor and physiotherapist often, to get through these three weeks.”

Moinard re-signs with BMC

This news came from the team:

30 June 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA): Amaël Moinard has extended his contract with BMC Racing Team and is set to line up for his seventh season in 2017.

Moinard is one of BMC Racing Team's most versatile riders, General Manager Jim Ochowicz said. "Amaël is an asset for any team so we are very happy to extend his contract with BMC Racing Team. After six seasons with the team, Amaël has proven to be one of our best support riders at stage races and Grand Tours, so it was an easy decision to make. When the Tour de France rolls out this weekend we will be racing in Amaël's home region and I'm excited to see the support from spectators for both Amaël and BMC Racing Team," Ochowicz said.

Amael moinard

Amaël Moinard earlier this year

Moinard appreciates the level of support from BMC Racing Team. "I really appreciate the confidence the team has had in me over the last six years and the support to prepare for and achieve my goals, especially when it comes to a Grand Tour like the Tour de France. I'm looking forward to continuing the good experiences I have had with BMC Racing Team in the future," Moinard explained.

In keeping with BMC Racing Team policy, no other details of the contract were released.

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