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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, October 21, 2016

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There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away nor any coursers like a page of prancing poetry. - Emily Dickinson

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Abu Dhabi team reports

Tinkoff sent me this update:

The expected bunch sprint on stage 1 of the Abu Dhabi Tour eventually unfolded after a strong fight from the breakaway to stay away, and it was Michael Kolar who came through quickest for Tinkoff, sprinting to sixth.

Coming into the final kilometre on the wheel of Juraj Sagan, Michael was well positioned and held his own against some of the fastest sprinters in the peloton, while GC riders Alberto Contador and Jesper Hansen stayed safe in the wheels of the peloton.

After the stage, Michael told us: “Juraj did a good job in bringing me up in the last km, and Erik was also helping while the GC guys were taking cover. Tactically it was done perfectly but I guess I lacked a bit of speed at the end.”

The race got underway with an early four-rider breakaway that pulled clear in the opening kilometres following a small crosswind section. These guys built a steady advantage and clearly saved something in the tank for later on, as heading into the final 15km they still had nearly two minutes’ advantage. The chase from the peloton picked up, as the new-look Tinkoff jerseys moved towards the front, and with 7km to race the catch was made. From here on it was all set for a bunch sprint as the lead-out trains battled for position at the front.

Giacomo Nizzolo

Giacomo Nizzolo wins the first stage

Sport Director at the race, Tristan Hoffman added: “Today it looked like it would always be a bunch sprint and we saw the usual situation with an early break before the fight for the sprint at the end. At the Worlds we saw that Michael did a great job for Peter Sagan so we gave him the opportunity to go for the sprint today. He’s riding well and did a good sprint to take sixth – there are some very fast guys here.

“Tomorrow we will probably see the same situation and we will ride for Michael again in the sprint, then on Saturday we have the main stage for the GC riders.” Stage 2 takes the riders 115km around Abu Dhabi over another pan-flat parcours suited to a bunch sprint conclusion.

And here's what Lampre-Merida had to say about the day's racing:

The 2016 edition of the Abu Dhabi Tour was opened by a massive sprint on the arrival straight of the 1st stage, the Adnoc Stage (Madinat Zayed-Madinat Zayed of 147 km).

There were no top performances by LAMPRE-MERIDA'S athlete, Modolo was out of the top ten in the final sprint.

The cyclist rode on a flat course in the backcountry, on roads which ploughes trough the desert (photo Bettini). Four brave attackers (Matthews, Keukeleire, Smukulis and Smith) led the race until 10 km to the arrival, before peloton bridged the gap as foretaste of the massive sprint, in which Modolo could not realize a performance as good as the ones by the many top sprinter who're racing in Abu Dhabi.

Nizzolo obtained the victory, preceding Degenkolb and Cavendish.

"It is reasonable that Sacha could not be as competitive as the other sprinters in today opening stage because, on the contrary of most of his opponents, he did not partecipate in the World Championship in Doha - sports director Scirea commented - For sure the gap from the other sprinters will be smaller in the second stage".

Cheng Ji to retire after Tour of Hainan

This came from Giant-Alpecin:

Cheng Ji (CHN) has taken the decision to retire from professional cycling, with the Tour of Hainan as the last race of his career, taking place on October 22nd-30th. After 10 years of service in the pro peloton - of which the last eight years with the team - the 29-years-old Chinese decided to focus on a different career path and starting a family-life in China. Ji is recognized as a valuable member of the team, as he made history in 2015 when he became the first Chinese rider to complete all three Grand Tours. This achievement has been considered a huge milestone for the development of cycling in his home country China. 

"First of all thanks to the team, staff and sponsors for their support during all those years and the great time together. Being a Chinese professional rider competing in the biggest races on the calendar has had a big impact with far-reaching consequences in China, and I am glad to have played my part in that. Physically I can continue my career for a few years still at a high European level, but as I become older I have other goals in my life - concentrating on my family. I have recently become a father, therefore I have decided to retire after this season to focus on a different life in China and take my responsibility for my family."

Cheng Ji

Cheng Ji

"His experience and confident presence have been important for the team," said coach Rudi Kemna (NED). "Cheng has seen it all during his 10 years riding at the highest level of professional cycling and we fully accept his decision. He was one of the team's most hard-working and respected riders. We would like to thank him for his contribution and wish him success in all his future commitments. We are certain he will pursue them with the same enthusiasm as he has shown in cycling."

The contracts of John Degenkolb (GER), Lars van der Haar (NED), Koen de Kort (NED), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE) and Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE) have not been renewed. The team thanks them for their efforts and wishes them the best of luck with their futures.

2016 Taiwan bike exports suffer huge drop

This came from Bike-Eu.com:

TAICHUNG, Taiwan – In the first 8 months of 2016 Taiwan exported slightly over 2 million complete bicycles. This accounted for a drop of 25.6% compared to the export total of the same period in 2015. A sluggish global economy and adverse weather conditions caused the huge export drop.

Money wise Taiwan’s bicycle export also took a hit in the January to August 2016 period. The value of the export of complete bicycles in the named period dropped by 21.0% to USD 968 million. The value in exported bicycle parts from Taiwan remained stable in the named period.

The European Union remained also in the first eight months of 2016 the largest export market for Taiwan’s bicycle industry. The EU 28 member states accounted for 57% of Taiwan’s export of complete bicycles as well as P&A.

You can read the entire story here.

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