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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, January 26, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

We see past time in a telescope and present time in a microscope. Hence the apparent enormities of the present. - Victor Hugo

Current Racing:

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Moreno Hofland starts season at Challenge Mallorca

Lotto-Soudal sent me this report:

As the Tour Down Under has finished, the first WorldTour race of the season has already come to an end. This week the European cycling season begins with the Challenge Mallorca (26 – 29 January), the first Europe Tour race of the year. The Challenge Mallorca is a four-day stage race in which the riders can choose in how many of the races they participate.

It is quite certain that there will be two sprints: on Thursday in Campos and on Sunday in Palma. The second day will be the hardest. Immediately after the start the road goes uphill towards the top of the Soller, afterwards it goes up and down all the time. In the finale the riders have to climb up to an altitude of 920 metres. The top of that climb lies at about 25 kilometres from the finish. After a long descent there is one last uphill section. On Saturday, the peloton heads into the mountains again, but not as high as the day before. The finale is mainly flat, until the three-kilometre long hill that leads to the finish line.

Bart Leysen, sports director Lotto Soudal: “The first and last race will almost certainly end with a sprint. André Greipel is our man for that. He will have a team around him that can perfectly assist him. The other two races are suitable for riders like Tiesj Benoot, Louis Vervaeke and Tim Wellens. On Friday, the race starts at the bottom of the Soller and from then on it goes up and down all the time. The hardest part will be the last fifty kilometres of the race. I expect rather big time gaps between the first ten riders at the finish. On Saturday there is a long descent after the last climb. Then it’s flat until the final hill. If Jürgen Roelandts gets at the front of the race after the last climb, I think he can play an important role for the team. Our riders definitely have the right condition to be part of the final battle. We can return home satisfied when we win one of the four stages.”

One of the twelve riders who is selected for the Challenge Mallorca is Moreno Hofland, new in the team. The past few days he stayed in Calpe, where he trained together with Tiesj Benoot. Yesterday evening he flew to Mallorca.

Moreno Hofland

Moreno Hofland winning a stage in the 2015 Tour of Yorkshire

Moreno Hofland: “I arrived in Calpe on Saturday. I actually wanted to leave for Calpe a few days earlier, but the weather made me change my plans. It was cold in the Netherlands, but at least it was dry. This weekend the weather still wasn’t good here in Calpe, so we took the car to Alicante to start our ride there.”

“After all those months of training I am happy that I can race with my new teammates. I can’t wait. I have never taken part in the Challenge Mallorca before, but I know the island from the training camps. During those training camps we already practised the lead-outs. I rode in different positions during those simulations. Now we can finally do a lead-out in a race. I’m looking forward to being part of the lead-out of André Greipel.”

“The Challenge Mallorca seems like a great race to start the season, especially when combined with trainings. It’s perfect to get race rhythm and to get used to each other before we get to the big goals of the season. Of course it would be fantastic if we could already claim a victory here. After the Challenge Mallorca I will ride the Ruta del Sol, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and Paris-Nice. The rest of the programme has yet to be determined.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Tiesj Benoot, Bart De Clercq, Frederik Frison, André Greipel, Moreno Hofland, Nikolas Maes, Tomasz Marczynski, Rémy Mertz, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg, Louis Vervaeke and Tim Wellens.

Bardiani-CSF headed to Dubai Tour

The team sent this update:

Bardiani-CSF is ready for its second challenge in 2017 at Dubai Tour. The fourth edition of UAE race (UCI 2.HC category) includes five road race stages, scheduled from January 31 to February 4, with sprinters as expected stars of the race.

Line up - Team directors Bruno and Roberto Reverberi will lead eight riders with Paolo Simion will the key sprinter and young Marco Maronese, at his own debut in professional cycling, as valid option. Nicola Boem, Simone Andreetta, Enrico Barbin, Simone Sterbini, Alessandro Tonelli and Simone Velasco complete the roster.

Nicola Boem

Nicola Boem finishing a stage in the 2016 Tour of the Mediterranean.

Quote - “After many kilometers stacked up during winter trainings, it’s time to have the first feedback in race” said Roberto Reverberi. “We’re pleased on how riders worked well during last two months and we’re confident we can be part of the game. There will be high level competition, especially for sprints, but we won’t be in race just for appearance. Simion already proved his reliability and the entire team has right characteristics to support him and do well”.

Facts - Bardiani-CSF raced Dubai Tour in 2015 achieving two top ten results, Simion eighth and Ruffoni tenth. For Andreetta, Barbin, Tonelli, Velasco and Maronese will be first experience in Dubai. 23.7 is the average age of the squad, with Boem the oldest (27 years old) and Velasco the younger (21). About team directors, 21st season for Roberto Reverberi and 36th for Bruno, more and more the doyens in cycling.

Team UAE Abu Dhabi's Vuelta de San Juan Stage 2 report

Andrea Guardini, the fastest rider for Team UAE, participated in the battle of the speed on the final straight of the stage which started and ended in San Juan, on a course of 128.8 km with two Kom categorized hills (Alto del Dique Punta Negra, 1000 mt of distance, at 92.7 km and at 31.3 km to the finish line).

On the contrary of what had happened in the first stage, this time the sprint was easier and without errors on the course. Guardini succeed in obtaining a place in the top 5 of the stage classification: he was 5th, behind the winner Boonen, Viviani (2nd), Malucelli (3rd) and Escuela (4th).

Tom Boonen

Tom Boonen wins San Juan Stage 2

Earlier in the stage, there were other two key moments. The first occurred at 10 km to the arrival, when the bunch split in two parts and Team UAE was represented by Troia, Guardini and Rui Costa in the head group.

Later, at 3 km to the arrival, Atapuma was involved in a crash and he could not reach the finish line (he was credited with the same time as Boonen). He was carried to the nearest hospital on an ambulance: he suffered facial, legs and arms traumas. He spent the night under observation, his condition is fairly good and he did not suffer serious consequences.

Apple Manufacturer Foxconn Invests Millions in Cycling

Bike Europe sent me this interesting piece:

BEIJING, China – Chinese bike-sharing services have entered in fierce competition between providers and investors. Yesterday, bike-sharing service Mobike signed an exclusive strategic partnership with Foxconn Technology Group, known as the manufacturer of Apple iPhones, in a move to double its annual bicycle production capacity to more than 10 million units.

As strategic investor Foxconn will set up production lines for Mobike’s rental bicycles. Foxconn is targeting an annual production capacity of 5.6 million units. “The deal will help us to expand our presence in China as well as in overseas markets,” claims Mobike. Local media state that Mobike has raised USD 215 million in its latest funding round for supporting the bike sharing craze in China’s biggest cities.

Your can read the entire story here.

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