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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, January 20, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don't know. - W. H. Auden

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Tour Down Under stage 3 team reports

GC leader Richie Porte's BMC team sent me this:

19 January, 2017, Victor Harbor (AUS): Richie Porte crossed the finish line unscathed on stage 3 of the Santos Tour Down Under to retain his overall lead with three stages remaining.

The peloton travelled south from Glenelg to Victor Harbour and finished with four laps of a technical finish circuit, where a bunch sprint played out, won by Caleb Ewan (ORICA-Scott).

A four-rider breakaway went clear in the first hour of racing and BMC Racing Team spent much of the day on the front of the peloton to limit the break's advantage and protect Porte's lead, before eventually bringing the race back together on the finish circuit. A crash in the final 5km saw Danilo Wyss go down but fortunately escape any serious injuries.

Porte acknowledged the support from his BMC Racing Team teammates.

"It was fine today. The team obviously played a big role in that. It's just nice to get through a stage like that. It was quite nervous and stressful all day so it's another step closer to the finish. I don't think you see the wind on television but if there's any wind it makes for a stressful day and there's just so much to lose on a stage like this, and a lot to gain. I was pretty close to the crash and even at the front of the bunch where the crash happened," Porte explained.

Richie Porte

Richie Porte was carefully guarded by his BMC teammates

"It was business as normal. Obviously BMC Racing Team have defended a lot of jerseys over the years so when you've got experienced guys like Amaël Moinard and Fran Ventoso it's not just a big deal, but Miles Scotson also was incredible today. We'll see how tomorrow is and get through that and then it's Willunga. You don't want to be starting the downhill to the gorge tomorrow anywhere but the front. Tomorrow's not an easy stage and I think you saw today that if you're not focused for one second, big crashes can happen like that."

Sports Director Fabio Baldato said stage 3 went to plan.

"With Richie Porte in the ochre jersey we had the responsibility to control the race. A break of four riders went away and one of them was about a minute and half from Richie on the General Classification so we couldn't let them get too far in front," Baldato said.

"The guys worked really well to protect Richie and keep him safe up the front. We did most of the work at the front and then had a it of help from Dimension Data and Bora - Hansgrohe. It all went as planned but the finish was quite technical and dangerous, as we saw with the crash in the finale. Danilo Wyss went down but he has no serious problems, just some bruising. We're halfway through the race now with two important stages to come."

Team Dimension Data posted this report:

Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) enjoyed his second victory in three days at the Tour Down Under by winning stage 3 in Victor Harbor. With a few tough stages to come Team Dimension Data played it safe today. Nathan Haas was the team’s best placed finisher in 18th.

The race saw an early break. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Clement Chevrier (Ag2R), Jeremy Maison (FDJ) and Vegard Laengen (UAE Abu Dhabi) rode away almost from the gun and managed to build up a solid lead.

Stage 3 break

The early stage 3 break being led by Jeremy Maison

De Gendt lead the break over Sellick’s Hill, the days first and only KOM, before the race headed to Victor Harbor. However it was Laengen who had the longest breath. Inside 20 kilometers to go he broke clear from his companions. The bunch only managed to reel him in with 5 kilometers left to race.

The pace was on by then. Bora-Hansgrohe tried to surprise Orica-Scott by opening the sprint early. In the end Peter Sagan had to settle for second though, as Ewan once again showed that he’s the strongest sprinter in this race.

Our African Team has its eyes on the stages to come and decided to keep it safe in the end. None of the guys were involved in a crash that caused some trouble inside the last few kilometers. Haas finished 18th on the day, but more importantly, he kept his 5th place on GC. Tomorrow the race heads back into the Adelaide hills, before the Tour Down Under finds its showdown on the now infamous Willunga Hill a day later.

Alex Sans Vega – Sports Director: "The last two days have been hard and today was another hot stage. With two really hard stages coming up and focussing on keeping Nathan up there in the overall, we decided to stay safe today, trying to keep as much energy as possible. Nathan still sits 5th in GC, which is good. At the end of the stage there was a crash, but we managed to avoid that and can now focus on tomorrows stage to Campbelltown and then Willunga Hill."

Nairo Quintana to attempt Giro-Tour double, Valverde's early season plans revealed

Team Movistar posted this news:

Nairo Quintana will be at the start of the 100th Giro d'Italia. On the way to the biggest challenge of his season, the Tour de France, the Colombian rider will be back in the Corsa Rosa, which already saw him coming victorious through his maiden and, so far, only attempt to conquer pink, back in 2014. Quintana will thus aim for the Giro-Tour double for the first time in his career, looking for his fourth two-GT challenge after his presences in Giro-Vuelta, in 2014 (winner in Italy, DNF in Spain after wearing the red jersey), and in Tour-Vuelta for the last two seasons (2nd, then 4th in 2015; 3rd & winner in 2016).

Nairo Quintana

Nairo Quintana after winning the 2014 Giro d'Italia

Nairo will participate in at least one of the Mallorca Challenge trophies next week. Also confirmed are his appearances at both the Volta a la Comunitat Valencianaand the Abu Dhabi Tour, his first UCI WorldTour event of the season, during the month of February. Tirreno-Adriatico, in March, will be his final race before taking on an altitude stay at his home in Colombia, a final preparation for the Italian grandtour he'll complete with the Vuelta a Asturias in late April.

In turn, the Movistar Team's other big leader Alejandro Valverde, now recovered from the training crash sustained last week, will race a couple trophies from the Mallorca Challenge to start his season. Later on, he will be present at the Vuelta a Murcia, Clásica de Almería, Vuelta a Andalucía, Paris-Nice and one between Volta a Catalunya and Vuelta al País Vasco (he will be at the GP Miguel Indurain either way), before taking on his first main goal of the season in the Ardennes Classics (Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège), which have seen him claiming seven victories and 14 podium finishes. The Tour de France and the Vuelta a España will be his Grand Tours this season.

German bike maker MIFA struggles for survival

This news came to me from Bike Europe:

SANGERHAUSEN, Germany – The insolvent bicycle manufacturer MIFA struggles for its survival. The roughly 520 employees were informed yesterday that the production will not be re-started at the end of this month, as was previously planned.

“The attempt to reorganize the company failed,” said restructuring manager and current managing director Joachim Voigt-Salus at a press conference yesterday. “Therefore we had to apply for a regular insolvency in order to continue the company.”

Insiders report that MIFA’s Joachim Voigt-Salus registered for insolvency after the stakeholders informed him on their disagreement for an additional funding of 8 million euro. That money is needed on a short term in order to continue MIFA.

The 8 million had to come from the Von Nathusius family as well as 3 million from the bank. According to the MIFA management, “The money is needed for sourcing parts in order to guarantee delivery to large customers. For this spring we have orders for 100,000 bicycles. For being able to deliver them in time we had to order parts at the latetst last Tuesday.”

The regular insolvency follows after the company entered into ‘insolvency in self-administration’ which was filed on January 4. It provided the company creditor protection for a three months period. During this time production was supposed to continue at MIFA and the wages of the about 520 people working at MIFA would be paid by the German government employment agency.

Apart from the needed parts for the ordered bikes, the reason why MIFA’s restructuring manager Joachim Voigt-Salus cancelled this ‘insolvency in self administration’ and filed for a regular insolvency within two weeks remains unclear. Is it also because, without the millions needed, he sees no future for MIFA or does he want to move on quickly and find new investors outside the Von Nathusius family?

You can read the entire story here.

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