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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, May 8, 2016

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

It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and the broken promises. - Chief Joseph

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Giro d'Italia stage two team reports

I Have to start with Etixx-Quick Step

First, here's their YouTube video

Note, a shorter version of this stage narrative was also posted on the race report:

Nijmegen witnessed a dominant victory of Marcel Kittel, as he took his 12th career success in a Grand Tour.

As the Giro d'Italia loomed on the horizon, Marcel Kittel stressed out that he's not just motivated for the first Grand Tour of the year, but also that he's enjoying his best ever spring since turning pro, with no less than eight victories already to his name, among which was also a record fourth win in Scheldeprijs. Confident in his and the team's strength, Marcel knew he wouldn't have to wait too much to grab yet another victory, which eventually came when everyone was expecting it, on the second day of the Corsa Rosa.

Marcel Kittel wins stage 2

Marcel Kittel emphatically wins Giro stage two

Racing his second Giro d'Italia, Kittel patiently kept his powder dry throughout the stage (Arnhem – Nijmegen, 190 kilometers), as the peloton controlled a three-man break which took off right after the start and was caught with less than 10 kilometers to go. The 27-year-old sprinter waited for the team to safely negotiate the final kilometers of the stage, as Bob Jungels, Fabio Sabatini, Matteo Trentin and Lukasz Wisniowski did a great job by bringing him at the top end of the bunch. Then, inside the last 200 meters, just as FDJ was trying to hit the front in the rush to the line, Marcel opened his devastating sprint, leaving everyone else behind and scoring an impressive victory, thus rekindling his long-standing relationship with the Grand Tours, in which he scored 12 wins so far.

After hitting the ground running at the 99th Giro d'Italia and making two visits to the podium on Saturday – one for the stage victory and one to get the red jersey of the points classification leader – Marcel sat down and talked to the media about his special day in the Netherlands, where he enjoyed not only his 9th success of the season, but also the fantastic and overwhelming atmosphere created by the thousands and thousands of Dutch fans.

"I was feeling really good today and started my sprint in a perfect moment. With the finish being in a short downhill, I knew it was perfect for me and kicked-off my sprint with confidence. Winning the stage with a small gap was even better, especially as it came at the end of an incredible day. The fans were outstanding and supported us all the time, the Dutch really know how to celebrate and it was like a big party out there. I must say, the finish in Nijmegen was one of the most amazing I've ever seen", said Marcel after bringing Etixx – Quick-Step its 24th victory of the season.

Stage 2 of the Corsa Rosa was arguably Kittel's biggest win of the year, and he credited his teammates for boxing their way to the front and leaving him in an excellent position as the peloton hit the climax of the day: "What makes me very happy is that the team showed huge confidence and huge strength to make this win possible for me, so I want to thank the guys for fighting in the finale and taking me to the front of the pack.

"The win was very special also because I had my girlfriend – who lives not far from here – waiting for me at the finish. Now I'm looking forward to the next stage with calm and an even higher degree of confidence."

Here's what Giant-Alpecin had to say about Giro stage two:

Tom Dumoulin (NED) remains in the lead of the Giro d’Italia after the second stage. The team protected its captain well on the 190km from Arnhem to Nijmegen. Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE) easily retained his white jersey as best young rider and the team remained in the lead in the team classification.

Nikias Arndt (GER): “I think in general we had a good day. We stayed in front the whole race and showed we wanted to defend the jersey. The whole day we had control over the race and we defended both jerseys. We can be really proud of the team and our strong performance.

“Going into the final lap we immediately saw it was really hectic and nervous. In the end, though our position was not good enough. If you are not in perfect position, then it’s hard to get a good result.”

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin releases pink balloons before the start of stage two

Tom Dumoulin (NED): “Today was really incredible and I enjoyed every second of it. Actually it was an easy day. The guys did a good job and we were never really in trouble.

“It was very nice to hear this wall of noise all day and people shouting my name. It is all very close now, but the chances are pretty high that I will lose it tomorrow if Kittel sprints again like he did. We just have to make sure that there is another breakaway on the road to take the bonus seconds away, and then we will see.

"But if someone takes the leader's jersey from me, then it should be Marcel. We always liked Marcel as a person and also a captain on the team.

Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE): "It was great to be riding in the white jersey and we rode as a team throughout the day. I was a little scared of this finale. It was sometimes really narrow but we managed to finish safely in the bunch. We retained the pink and white jerseys, and the lead in the team classification. I hope I can stay in the young rider jersey as long as possible.”

Marc Reef (NED): "The goals were to keep Tom in pink and to sprint with Nikias. I think everything was in control. Only three guys in front and that was also very good for us. In the end it turned out to be a sprint, and there we worked for Nikias. It was a very hectic lap – narrow roads and then wider roads. Albert and Nikias managed to stay together and in the end Bert brought Nikias into the last 700-800 meters. In the sprint, Nikias finished just outside the top 10.

"For tomorrow I expect a comparable scenario to unfold and we will apply the same strategy. If Kittel sprints to the podium, which is quite likely, then he will be in the lead."

LottoNL-Jumbo sent me this:

Moreno Hofland finished fourth in the second stage of the Giro d’Italia. Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s sprinter ended up behind Marcel Kittel (Etixx - Quick Step), Arnaud Démare (FDJ) and Sacha Modolo (Lampre - Merida) in the bunch sprint in Nijmegen. Maarten Tjallingii was part of the leading group for the biggest part of the day and won the combatively award.

Tjallingii said already before the Giro d’Italia that he was very motivated for the first weekend of the race in his area and he proved that with being part of the early breakaway. “I wanted to give the fans something to cheer for,” he said. “I enjoyed it. It was fantastic to see al those people on the roads.”

Tjallingii lost the mountain sprint in Berg en Dal, so he didn’t grab the mountain jersey with his escape. “I tried to surprise Omar Fraile (Dimension Data), but I wasn’t able to fight back to his wheel when I left open a small gap. I won two points, though. I’m going to try it another time again tomorrow, so if I win that mountain sprint, I will have the blue jersey.”

Jan Boven followed Tjallingii during the race. “It was a little party,” the sports director said. “The people came out in numbers to watch the race and it was beautiful to see that everything was pink. Maarten told me that he had goose bumps during the stage. This was a highlight for him.”

When Tjallingii was caught with 20 kilometres to go, the two main tasks for Team LottoNL-Jumbo started. Front man Steven Kruijswijk was protected in the final part of the race and Moreno Hofland’s was prepared. “Bram Tankink was with Steven Kruijswijk and covered him,” Boven added. “Hofland was able to profit and was in good position most of the time.”

“It was a hectic final, but I stood my ground,” Hofland said. “I was in the right place after Twan Castelijns and Bram worked for Steven. I followed the FDJ train afterwards, ended up in Caleb Ewan’s wheel, and was able to pass some riders eventually. This fourth place gives me confidence. I started my way up today.”

GoPro posts quarterly loss

Bicycle Retailer and Industry News sent me this:

SAN MATEO, Calif. (BRAIN) — GoPro posted its second consecutive quarterly loss Thursday, but its share price rose in after-hours trading as the action camera maker's revenue for the first quarter exceeded analyst expectations.

GoPro reported revenue of $183.5 million, down 49.5 percent from $363.1 million a year earlier. Its net loss totaled $107.5 million, or 78 cents per share, compared with a profit of $16.8 million, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier.

"Consumer demand for GoPro remains solid," company founder and CEO Nick Woodman said in a statement Thursday. "Unit sell-through was close to first-quarter 2015 levels, a quarter which benefited from the launch of Hero4. Revenue exceeded our guide and, importantly, unit sell-through rates were approximately 50 percent higher than sell-in, which drove global inventory levels down. And while we had to make the difficult decision to delay our drone, Karma, the upside is that Karma's launch should now benefit from the holidays."

You can read the entire story here.

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