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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, September 17, 2016

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Immorality: the morality of those who are having a better time. - H. L. Mencken

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GP Industria & Commercio di Prato cancelled

I haven't been able to learn much, but this much I do know: The big, long-standing pro race scheduled for Sunday the 18th, the 1.1-ranked GP Industria & Commercio di Prato, which has been run without interruption since 1946, has been cancelled. The Elite Under 23 race will be held on Saturday, the 17th. The organizers want to continue to run a race every year without interruption, even if the top pros won't be there on Sunday.

BMC and Lampre-Merida headed to Eneco Tour

This update came from BMC:

16 September, 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA): BMC Racing Team will bring a strong and versatile team to the last UCI WorldTour stage race of the season when Eneco Tour gets underway on Monday 19, September.

The seven stages provide multiple opportunities for BMC Racing Team, Sports Director Fabio Baldato said. "Eneco Tour is the last UCI WorldTour stage race of the season so it's an important race for the team. We have multiple objectives going into the race including the General Classification with Greg Van Avermaet, who was on the podium last year, and the team time trial. In addition, Rohan Dennis is lining up with fantastic form as he showed at Tour of Britain and he'll be targeting the individual time trial, as well as being our other protected rider alongside Van Avermaet," Baldato explained. "We are always motivated to do well when there is a team time trial on the program, especially as this will serve as a warm up for the upcoming UCI Road World Championships."

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis

Dennis says the time trials will play an important role in the General Classification. "Since the Tour of Britain I have been feeling pretty good. I would love to carry this form into Eneco Tour and hopefully get an opportunity for a stage or maybe even the General Classification. The TT and TTT will help make those objectives possible but everyone knows that Eneco Tour can throw a few curve balls at you so the road stages are just as important with making time up on others for GC."

Eneco Tour (19-25 September)

Rider Roster: Tom Bohli (SUI), Rohan Dennis (AUS), Stefan Küng (SUI), Daniel Oss (ITA), Taylor Phinney (USA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL).

Sports Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA), Jackson Stewart (USA)

And here's Lampre-Merida's Eneco Tour news:

Eneco Tour, which is scheduled from 19 to 25 September, is the second to last event of the World Tour circuit: seven stages, included an individual time trial (2nd stage) and a team time trial (5th stage).

LAMPRE-MERIDA will be directed by the sports directors Scirea-Maini and in the lineup there will be eight riders: Yukiya Arashiro, Matteo Bono, Davide Cimolai, Mario Costa, Roberto Ferrari, Marko Kump, Sacha Modolo and Luka Pibernik.

Yukiya Arashiro

Yukiya Arashiro (shown at last year's Vuelta) is headed to the Eneco Tour

The members of the operative staff will be the mechanics Bacchion, Coelho and Chiodini, the masseurs Gallivanone, Lima and Santerini, the team physician Doctor Ronchi and the driver Bozzolo.

The group of the fast riders of the team will have as members Cimolai, Ferrari, Kump and Modolo and the other four blue-fuchsia-green athletes, who are Arashiro, Bono, Mario Costa and Pibernik, will have the task to try to join the breakaways.

Lotto-Soudal's European Championship plans

This came to me from the team:

This week the European Championships are being held in Plumelec, in the west of France. On Sunday 18 September the men elite will battle for the road title.

The course in Plumelec is 13.7 kilometres long. The men need to cover it seventeen times, which makes a total distance of 232.9 kilometres. The race finishes on the Côte de Cadoudal, a climb of 1.8 kilometres with an average gradient of 7.8%.

Three Lotto Soudal riders will represent their respective countries: Tiesj Benoot, Tony Gallopin and Jelle Vanendert. Tony Gallopin will be part of the French national team together with these seven riders: Julian Alaphilippe, Lilian Calmejane, Anthony Delaplace, Samuel Dumoulin, Nicolas Edet, Cyril Gautier and Alexandre Geniez.

Tony Gallopin

Tony Gallopin

Tony Gallopin: “I have adjusted my race programme to the European Championships that have been added to the calendar. It was better not to ride the Canadian races and prepare myself for my last goals of the season in the Tour of Britain. One of those goals are the European Championships in my home country. I know the course really well, I have often raced there in the past. Last year the team time trial of the Tour de France finished there.”

“The toughest part is the hill at the end of the lap. The Côte de Cadoudal shouldn’t be underestimated, it’s pretty tough. The seventeen ascents of this hill will definitely have their effect at the end of the day. Of course a lot will depend on the way the race evolves. And as everyone knows that can’t always be predicted.”

“It’s the first time that European Championships are contested for elite men. Will everyone wait so the last ascent will determine everything or will the decisive moment come earlier? These are European Championships, but many of the best riders in the world stand at the start. I think Peter Sagan and Michal Kwiatkowski definitely have a big chance of conquering the title. They are not the only ones of course. With the French team we will definitely challenge them.”

Jelle Vanendert and Tiesj Benoot will defend the Belgian honour on Sunday. They are a team together with Jan Bakelants, Philippe Gilbert, Ben Hermans, Jens Keukeleire, Eliot Lietaer, Gianni Meersman and Loïc Vliegen.

Tiesj Benoot: “I feel pretty confident for the European Championships after my races in Canada and the sixth place in the GP de Wallonie. On Wednesday during the GP de Wallonie it was really hot and normally that has a bad effect on me but it went really well. I was also surprised because I still feel the jetlag a little bit. Now I just have to rest and sleep as much as I can so that the jetlag will be absolutely gone by Sunday, but that should be okay. Jelle Vanendert and I flew home from Canada a day earlier than the rest of the team so we could rest a little more. I think that was a good choice.”

“On Sunday I expect that several countries, like France and Belgium, will control the race. Of course I hope that the finale will start early and that it will be a very fast and hard race. For the Belgian team that is the best possible situation to win a medal. Our country has a team that can control the race, but we’re even better at making it hard. However, we will just have to wait and see. I haven’t seen the course yet and I’ve never ridden the GP de Plumelec but they say it’s pretty hard. The Côte de Cadoudal should suit me: it’s a two-kilometre long climb so that means a five-minute effort. That’s perfect for me.”

“There are a lot of good riders at the start on Sunday. I think Julian Alaphilippe and Tony Gallopin are two riders to watch. Gallopin won the GP de Wallonie last Wednesday and he’s in really good condition. Other favourites for the victory are Petr Vakoc, Michal Kwiatkowski and Peter Sagan. But no worries, there are also strong riders in the Belgian team.”

Ben Swift signs deal with TJ Sport (successor to Lampre-Merida)

Lampre-Merida sent me this release:

The first new rider to sign a deal with the project TJ Sport is a top rider: Ben Swift.

Benjamin "Ben" Swift was born in Rotheram on 5/11/1987. Pro since 2009, Ben has 14 victories to date. In addition, he finished runner-up in the 2016 Milano-Sanremo and third in the same race in 2014.

The British rider has also enjoyed success on the track, winning gold in the scratch race at the 2012 World Championships, adding to his tally of three World Championship silver medals.

Ben Swift

Ben Swift

Ben's profile as rider suits perfectly the goals of the sports group, especially given his future ambitions for the Italian classic Milano-Sanremo.

Swift, who signed a two-year deal, commented: "I am really excited for this new professional opportunity and I look forward to starting a new chapter of my career. I believe it will allow me to develop further as a rider and hopefully enjoy more success in the seasons ahead. I would like to thank Sir Dave Brailsford and everybody at Team Sky who have helped me over the last 7 years.”

"TJ Sports management demonstrated a great confidence in my qualities and I was immediately fascinated by their project. It is founded on a sports group that has been at the top level of the world cycling for 25 years, so I will find in my new team a lot of experience and a very high level of professionalism”.

National Bike Dealers Assc. starts 'Buy Where You Ride' program

This came from Bicycle Retailer & Industry News:

BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — The National Bicycle Dealers Association is hoping to encourage web shoppers to visit their local bike shops with a new program called "Buy Where You Ride."

The program includes a new logo that suppliers are being encouraged to use on their websites along with their site's dealer locator. The logo also is being made available to retailers for use in a variety of ways.

The NBDA's president, Todd Grant, said supplier directories rarely do much to encourage curious consumers to visit a shop.

"A lot of them, you type in your zip code and you see a listing or a map, but they are really devoid of information. The consumer learns about the (supplier) brand and their products, but little about the benefits of shopping at the local dealer," Grant said.

Grant said the idea for the program was suggested by the NBDA at a Bicycle Product Suppliers Association board meeting this spring, which Grant attended. Supplier representatives at the meeting encouraged the NBDA to develop the program.

"Everybody already has a site, now we just need the message. We see this as a real opportunity to create a transactional message and a connection between the retailer, manufacturer, and most importantly, the consumer."

You can read the entire story here.

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