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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

Current racing

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:


Mark Cavendish has Mononucleosis

Here's the Team Dimension Data news release:

Mark Cavendish diagnosed with infectious mononucleosis caused by the Epstein Barr Virus

Recent blood work has revealed that Mark Cavendish suffers from infectious mononucleosis caused by the Epstein Barr Virus. This means that the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka sprint ace will need a longer period of rest than originally anticipated, as he is currently recovering from an overuse ankle injury simultaneously.

The main goal for Cavendish remains the Tour de France this year. Our African Team and all its partners are in full support of the Manxman and his ability to bounce back from this unfortunate set back.

Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish winning at Abu Dhabi earlier this year

Mark Cavendish – Rider: It is obviously disappointing to have received this diagnosis and in particular to have had to alter my race schedule as a result. Looking back, I have not been feeling myself over the past few weeks during both training and racing and so I am pleased that we have now been able to get to the bottom as to why I’ve been feeling as I have. I would like to thank the Doctor and all at Team Dimension Data for their help and fantastic support during this period and I will now be working hard to ensure I do everything I can to fully recover over the coming weeks to enable me to be fit and ready for the second half of the season.

Jarrad Van Zuydam – Team Doctor: Mark has been experiencing some unexplained fatigue during training. Recent blood analysis has revealed him to have infectious mononucleosis caused by the Epstein Barr Virus. Unfortunately, there is no effective specific treatment against the virus but rest will be required to aid his recovery. His training load and symptoms will be monitored very carefully and he will make a gradual, step-wise return to full training and racing. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of when we can expect him back at full fitness but we are hopeful of a significant improvement of his symptoms over the next 2 weeks.

Lotto-Soudal's plans for De Brabantse Pijl

The team sent me this release:

Before the Ardennes Classics take place, it’s the Brabantse Pijl tomorrow. This Europe Tour race of 197 kilometres starts in Leuven and finishes in Overijse. The riders will find 26 hills on their route. The local circuit is the toughest section of the course. The peloton has to cover three laps of 23.5 kilometres containing the Hagaard, Hertstraat, Holstheide, IJskelderlaan and Schavei. With Petr Vakoc, Ben Hermans and Philippe Gilbert the winners of the previous three editions will take the start. Sean De Bie is one of the eight riders in the Lotto Soudal line-up. The 25-year-old Belgian chose to ride the Ardennes Classics this year. Last week he finalized his preparation at Vuelta al País Vasco, where he finished two times on top five.

Sean De Bie: “I felt good at the Vuelta al País Vasco, also uphill it went smoothly and that proves that I am close to my top shape. I abandoned the race on the penultimate day, so I would be able to take sufficient rest before the Ardennes Classics. The past days I didn’t do intensive trainings anymore. Yesterday, I rode two hours behind the scooter.”

“The past seasons I always rode the Flemish spring races and I felt like the time had come to get a taste of the Ardennes Classics. I am still young and I want to see if those races suit me. I really peaked towards this period to get a realistic idea of my possibilities in these races. I am very grateful to the team that I get this opportunity. And the fact that I get their trust, encourages me. I often train in the Ardennes, so I know many roads and hills. About six weeks ago I did a recon of the Amstel. That will come in handy with all those twists and turns.”

“The course of the Brabantse Pijl I know very well. In the hill section there are a lot of corners and I can benefit from my past in cyclo-cross on those roads. The finish is one long sprint on the Schavei. You really need good legs to beat your opponents. The past years, the last hill often turned out to be decisive. Although it is possible that a select group gets away on the penultimate lap, so you need to be attentive. I aim for the victory. That’s definitely possible with my current shape. Michael Matthews will be a main opponent, he was riding very strong in the Vuelta al País Vasco. He is the man to beat.”

Sean de Bie

Sean De Bie

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Tiesj Benoot, Sean De Bie, Thomas De Gendt, Tomasz Marczynski, Rémy Mertz, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.

Sports director: Mario Aerts

Michele Scarponi will lead Astana at Giro d'Italia

Here's the new release from Team Astana:

Michele Scarponi will lead the Astana Pro Team at the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia.

Scarponi (37), 2011 Giro d’Italia winner, is one of the most experienced riders of the modern peloton, who knows very well how to get a strong result at the Giro.

"We decided to come to the Giro with Michele Scarponi as our leader. He will replace Fabio Aru, who is forced to skip the race due to the knee injury. As we already communicated yesterday, Fabio has to pass the full treatment and recovery from his injury, so he won’t be able to start in his home race. For all of us, his good and full recovery is on the first place, while his further calendar will depend on the time of recovery and the results in the first races after it," said general manager Alexandr Vinokurov.

Michgele Scarponi

Michele Scarponi (Lampre) racing in the 2011 Giro, which he won after Alberto Contador was disqualified

In the same time, Astana Proteam is following its general plan, made in the beginning of the season. So far, any big changes in training program or race rosters are not on the table.

"Despite this unhappy situation, we don’t talk about any great changes in our program. We are looking forward to the Giro d’Italia with the team we have as well as to the Tour de France, where Jakob Fuglsang, like it was planned, is preparing to take a leading spot," added Alexandr Vinokurov.

Pon Wants to take over Accell Group; places bid for shares

Bike Europe sent me this. It is really a big deal.

HEERENVEEN, The Netherlands – Pon Holdings, owner of Pon Bike Group [Gazelle, Batavus, Koga], has placed a bid for all shares of Accell Group [Raleigh, Diamondback, Cervelo]. This bid comes after Pon Holdings provided the management board and the supervisory board of Accell Group with a letter detailing its proposal on 17 March 2017. That the two companies entered into talks was leaked to the Dutch press. A newspaper publication yesterday on it surprised the two companies and prompted the now published bid by Pon Holdings on Accell Group.

On this bid Pon Holdings says in this morning’s issued statement “Pon Holdings confirms that it has provided a non-binding, conditional proposal to Accell Group to combine Accell Group with its own bicycle activities. The proposal concerns a public offer for all issued and outstanding ordinary shares of Accell Group at an indicative offer price of € 32.72 per share in cash, including the 2016 proposed dividend of € 0.72.”

The at the Amsterdam stock market listed Accell Group confirms that it has received the bid from Pon Holdings and said “In response to the proposal Accell Group is having exploratory discussions with Pon Holdings. The Supervisory Board and Executive Board of Accell Group are carefully reviewing and considering all aspects of the proposal, together with their financial and legal advisors. Accell Group will take into account the interests of all its stakeholders. There can be no assurance any transaction will result from these discussions.”

Your can read the whole story here.

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