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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, March 2, 2016

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

Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia. - Charles M. Schulz

Current Racing:

Upcoming Racing:

Ag2r-La Mondiale for Paris-Nice

Here's the team's update:

Paris-Nice (6-13 March)

06.03: Prologue Conflans-Ste-Honorine 6.1 km
07.03: Condé-sur-Vesgre – Vendôme 195 km
08.03: Contres – Commentry 214 km
09.03: Cusset – Mont Brouilly 165.5 km
10.03: Juliénas – Romans-sur-Isère 193.5 km
11.03: St-Paul-Trois-Châteaux – Salon de Provence 198 km
12.03: Nice – La Madone d’Utelle 177 km
13.03: Nice – Nice 141 km

Composition of the team: Romain BARDET, Mikaël CHEREL, Axel DOMONT, Ben GASTAUER (Lux), Cyril GAUTIER, Alexis GOUGEARD, Pierre LATOUR, Alexis VUILLERMOZ

Directeurs sportifs: Stéphane GOUBERT / Julien JURDIE

Romain Bardet

Romain Bardet will ride Paris-Nice

Lotto-Soudal has slight sponsor change for Paris-Nice

The team sent me this short note:

During Paris-Nice (6 – 13 March) Lotto Soudal will ride with the team name Lotto Fix ALL. Fix ALL is one of the best-known products of name sponsor Soudal. It’s a universal and reliable adhesive and sealant for all professionals and handymen worldwide.

Dirk Coorevits, CEO Soudal: “This is a perfect occasion to put one of our top products in the limelight. Not only on the French market, which is very important to us, but because Paris-Nice is a WorldTour race with visibility in 170 countries we will reach people all over the world. We hope that our team, regardless of the recent crashes, will start at full strength and a result as good as in Paris-Nice 2015 would of course be wonderful!”

Etixx-Quick Step will be at Le Samyn

Here's an update from the team:

Our team will field eight riders for the 47th edition of the one-day race.

After concluding last month in Belgium, we'll kick-off the new one in the same country, but in the Walloon region this time, where on Wednesday is scheduled to take place Le Samyn. The 202.6 km-long event starts in Quaregnon and is by no means flat, with several small climbs taking the sting out of the legs. In the second part of the race, the course comes up with a 24.6 km-long circuit which will be done four times and which includes several cobbled sections that are sure to spice up the action. On top of all, the finishing straight in Dour is in a slight uphill, which is going to favour the punchy sprinters.

Le Samyn will see Etixx – Quick-Step line up a team that's going to mix youth and experience. Runner-up at the previous edition, Gianni Meersman returns to his home country race determined to be again among the protagonists. The 30-year-old Belgian will be joined, among others, by 2014 Paris-Roubaix champion Niki Terpstra and Lukasz Wisniowski, who comes here after a strong ride – which netted him a 5th place – in last Sunday's Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

Julian Alaphilippe

Julian Alaphilippe will be at Le Samyn

Etixx – Quick-Step for Le Samyn (2 March): Julian Alaphilippe, Rodrigo Contreras, Laurens De Plus, Davide Martinelli, Gianni Meersman, Niki Terpstra, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Lukasz Wisniowski.

Trek prez John Burke challenges bike industry on bike advocacy

Bicycle Retailer and Industry News carried this piece:

TAIPEI, Taiwan (BRAIN) — As he has done before, Trek's president, John Burke, has challenged the bike industry to support advocacy. At the annual Velo-City Global conference, held over the weekend and Monday in Taipei prior to the Taipei Cycle Show, Burke said climate change, in particular, made it critical that bicycle use increase in cities around the world, and he said industry support is a key factor toward increasing bike use.

Burke said bike companies are most effective when they act locally and globally, because it's obvious to him that bike use has increased significantly in cities where the industry has got behind it.

Burke presented a four-point check list:

  1. Is your CEO actively involved in creating a more bicycle-friendly world?
    Would local and national advocacy groups say your company supports their efforts?
  2. Is your company actively educating government organizations on the benefits of cycling?
  3. Has your company taken responsibility for transforming your home city, state, or country to be more bicycle friendly?
  4. Burke said by his estimation, and after consulting with some advocacy experts, U.S. bike companies average 1.32 checks on the list.

"You would think more companies would support bicycle facilities, yet the reality is that there are very few bicycle companies that really support the bicycle movement," Burke said.

Click here for the full article.

Major Topic at Taipei Cycle Show: Bringing Production Back To Europe

The Taipei Cycle Show runs March 2 - 5. This piece is from Bike-Europe:

It is expected to be one of the main discussed topics at the Taipei International Cycle Show; the initiatives for creating more supply chain flexibility by bringing production back to Europe. These initiatives were announced at Eurobike 2014. Since they have has their effect. Even more than expected.

What happened since that memorable meeting at Eurobike 2014, is explained by Accell Group’s Chief Operations Officer Jeroen Snijders Blok in an interview published in Bike Europe’s Taipei Cycle preview (January/February, 2016) edition. Here is a summary of that interview.

According to Accell Group’s Chief Operations Officer, ”Even more is happening than expected and faster too. Look at all the companies that are investing in production in Europe. And that’s not only at Bike Valley Portugal with the alloy frame production. There’s much more going on. Accell Group is investing in production in Europe. Pon is investing, such as in the new Gazelle facility. Orbea, ZEG, Decathlon, Trelock, DT Swiss – the list is getting longer and longer. There’s definitely not only talk and planning going on. Some big money is invested. It’ also striking that you no longer hear about companies shifting to Asia. What you (do) hear is companies investing for the long term and not only in Eastern Europe, but in almost all European regions, even in Germany. Nowadays we consider what we can robotize in bike production, which is also a trend reversal. The awareness that we have to get to more supply chain flexibility; that we have to increase our speed to market, has sunk in.

“From our supply partners in the Far East however, less is happening than expected. But I realize that for parts makers in Taiwan and/or China investing in a base in Europe is a fundamental issue when taking into account culture differences, language barriers, staff relocation, etcetera. It is probably out of their comfort zone.”

Snijders Blok affirms that the aluminum frame production now being set-up in Portugal as well as other initiatives will not be sufficient to cater to the demand from the industry in Europe. On this he says, “There’s room for much more when taking the annual bicycle production in Europe into account. That currently is at a level of about 11 million units annually. Some 6 million units of that annual total production is equipped with aluminum frames. Looking at the current happenings in what is to turn into frame producing facilities, we can expect that some 1.5 million will be produced in Europe. That’s only 25% of what is needed. That 1.5 million production includes special frames – for instance for mid-motor e-bikes, for race and sports bikes, as well as small series production. This alloy frame production is not restricted to take place in Europe. Turkey or Tunisia for instance are also suitable production locations.”

Click here for the entire story.

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