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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. - Samuel Johnson

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Alexander Kristoff wins Tour of Oman stage one

Here's the story from Kristoff's Katusha-Alpecin team:

It was nice winning story for Team Katusha-Alpecin and Alexander Kristoff in Oman. Kristoff won stage 1 of the 8th Tour of Oman with finish at the Naseem Park not far away from country capital Muscat. Kristoff repeated his 2016 win at the same finish location and has now already five Oman stage wins on his palmares.

In the final sprint Katusha-Alpecin’s top sprinter was faster than Italians Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrein - Merida).

"Of course, all in the peloton looked at us, as we were the favorites with me as one of the best sprinters, so we had to take control of the race from the beginning. Quick -Step helped and later on also Sunweb. Our team did an amazing job. In the end they all contributed for the lead-out. We knew the finish from last year and knew that we had to come to the front a little bit late, especially because of the straight road and the head wind. We waited in the bunch quite a long time. Just in the end, with 300 meters to go, we hit the front. It was still tough with the head wind, but our lead-out was perfect. Marco Haller and Michael Mørkøv were the last guys to bring me to the ideal position but also Nils Politt helped a lot. I am proud of this team. Already in Bessèges we showed to have a good group. This is a great feeling. I hope we can continue this way," said Alexander Kristoff.

Alexander Kristoff

Alexander Kristoff wins the Tour of Oman's first stage

Stage 1 of the race started at Al Sawadi Beach and finished after 176,5 km near the central entrance to the Naseem Park. Five riders made the daily breakaway after only few kilometers from the start, but Team Katusha-Alpecin and Team Quick -Step did everything to control it. The break was completely neutralized with some 10 km to go. A strong powerful sprint at the finish brought Alexander Kristoff’s second 2017 victory for Team Katusha-Alpecin.

Tomorrow will be held stage 2 of the Tour of Oman – 145,5 km from Nakhal to Al Bustan.

Bardiani-CSF heads to Far East for Le Tour de Langkawi

The team sent me this press release:

Bardiani-CSF is going to face the first of two races scheduled for the second part of February, Le Tour of Lankgawi. Malaysian race, one of the most important cycling event in Asia (UCI category 2.HC) includes eight stages, from February 22 to March 1, with mixed routes on paper suited for fast riders. Three are the most insidious stages (fourth, fifth and seventh) that could decide the final classification.

Line up - Team director Stefano Zanatta will count on six man roster including sprinters Paolo Simion and Marco Maronese, all rounders Enrico Barbin, Lorenzo Rota and Simone Velasco, as well as rouleur Niccolò Pacinotti.

Quote - “Tour de Langkawi is an important step in our first part of the season” said Zanatta. “The race will be a test bench especially in view of spring calendar. Riders know this and I expect bold performances - no one has to miss the chance to do well. I’m confident we can leave our mark on the race. Our last attendane at Trofeo Laigueglia has been too much featureless, Malaysia must be our redemption”.

Facts - 2017 Tour de Langkawi will be third experience for Bardiani-CSF following 2015 and 2016. For the riders will be the first race in Malaysia, except Simion who took part also in past editions. Simion is also the rider who achieved best results with five top ten placement in 2016 (sixth the best one), while the #GreenTeam finished second in 2016 teams ranking. Average age of the team is 23, with Barbin the oldest (26 years old) and Velasco the younger (21).

Orica-Scott signs New Zealand’s Georgia Williams for 2017

The team sent me this news:

Orica-Scott is pleased to announce the signing of New Zealand track and road cyclist Georgia Williams for the 2017 season. The 23-year-old joins the Australian outfit after the recent retirement of Loren Rowney opened up a new position on the team.

Williams, who demonstrated her versatility by placing second in both the road race and the time trial at the 2017 New Zealand road championships, represented her country on the track in the women’s team pursuit at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“I am very excited to be joining the team,” said Williams. “I am looking forward to focusing on the road season this year without any track commitments. I can’t wait to race with the Orica-Scott girls and hopefully we can have a fun and successful season together.”

Sports director Gene Bates is confident Williams will be a great asset to the Orica-Scott lineup and is looking forward to a fresh injection of energy into the outfit. “We are really excited to have Georgia Williams on the team for 2017,” said Bates. “It is not easy finding riders in January, but I think we are very fortunate that this opportunity has come up to sign Georgia.”

“We have seen some exciting rides from her and we believe that she has a great deal of potential to reach new heights in her road racing this year. She will certainly add more excitement to our roster.”

An excellent young prospect after winning silver medals at the junior track world championships in both 2010 and 2011, Williams already has experience in some of the world’s biggest women’s road races, despite her young age.

This experience will put her in a strong position as she travels to Europe this week before starting her first race for Orica-Scott at Omloop van het Hageland in Belgium on Sunday, 26 February.

“Georgia comes with a lot of experience both on the track and in European road racing,” continued Bates. “We are obviously very content with her background and we wanted to sign a rider that we could just drop into big races without any concerns. Georgia will start racing at the end of February in Europe and we look forward to welcoming her into the team.”

Georgia Williams:

Date of Birth: 25 August 1993 (23)
Nationality: New Zealand
Place of Birth: Auckland
Turned Pro: 2013

Georgia Williams is a world class road and track rider who has represented New Zealand on the track at both the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games. Williams joins Orica-Scott in January following an opening in the team due to a retirement.

2017
- 2nd National Championships New Zealand - Road Race
- 2nd National Championships New Zealand - Time Trial

2016
- 4th World Championships - Team Time Trial

Growing number of acquisitions in bicycle industry

Bike Europe sent me this interesting analysis:

DOETINCHEM, the Netherlands – Clearly there’s something brewing in the bike sector, both in Europe as in the US. That something drastic is happening is indicated by the growing number of takeovers. Only recently again a renowned bicycle brand changed hands.

That brand is American Felt Bicycles. The Rossignol Group SA (owner of several brands for winter sports products, such as Dynastar, Kerma and Lange) has reached an agreement with Felt on the takeover. Felt is the second bicycle brand of Rossignol which earlier took over Time Sport International; the owner of Look.

The acquisition of Felt has everything to do with the fact that the American market is struggling. Even to the point that the two biggest players in this market – Trek and Specialized – already have indicated to postpone their introduction of model year 2018 bikes and e-bikes to well into the autumn. This should present bicycle retailers time to sell their still high stocks.

Another indication on a troubled 2016 for bicycle retailers in the US is the acquisition of retail chain Performance Cycles by Advanced Sport International (ASI). ASI owns, among others, the brands Fuji, Kestrel and Breezer and is now continuing this chain of 106 stores. The troubled situation at American bicycle retailers is mainly caused by rapidly growing online competition. This also caused renowned chains like Sports Authority (460 shops) and Sport Chalet (47 shops) to go under.

You can read the entire story here.

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