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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, March 10, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

The more I practice, the luckier I get. - Arnold Palmer

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André Greipel wins Paris-Nice stage 5

Greipel's lotto-Soudal team sent me this report:

André Greipel sprinted to victory on the fifth stage of Paris-Nice! A big triumph for Lotto Fix ALL! The German champion beat Arnaud Démare and Dylan Groenwegen in the sprint.

With a distance of 199.5 kilometres the fifth stage, from Quincié-en-Beaujolais to Bourg-de-Péage, was the longest one of this edition. It was the last chance for the sprinters this week and they didn’t want to let that slip. Not long after the start, six riders got away from the bunch. They had a maximal lead of more than five minutes. Thomas De Gendt was riding at the head of the bunch for many kilometres to control the gap. Twenty kilometres from the end, the peloton split in two because of a crash. André Greipel and Tony Gallopin were riding in the second and biggest part, together with GC leader Julian Alaphilippe. Soon, the peloton got back together. With 12.5 kilometres to go, the last four escapees were reeled in. In the last kilometres the roundabouts on the course created chaos during the sprint preparation. André Greipel got through these passages without any problems and was riding in an excellent position to start the sprint. His victory was very impressive, beating Démare and Groenewegen with more than a bike length.”

André Greipel: “It was the big goal to win a stage here at Paris-Nice against some of the best sprinters in the world. Arnaud Démare is riding very impressive at the moment. I’m glad I could beat him. Of course I was very disappointed on Tuesday when I only got seventh. I made a mistake and I was really angry at myself. We wanted to do better today and so we did. The last seven kilometres we had to fight against a strong headwind, so it was not easy to stay in front. Luckily, with the support from the team, I managed to get in a really good position for the sprint. The finish was slightly uphill and suited me well. I am very happy with this victory. The next days I’ll do my best to support Tony Gallopin where I can. Saturday will be a fight man against man and he is really good, I think he can win this Paris-Nice.”

Andre Greipel

Greipel gets the stage win

At Tirreno-Adriatico a tough finish awaited the riders in Pomarance. Just like in Paris-Nice a break of six got formed quickly. They remained in front until 27 kilometres from the finish. On the climb to Pomarance Bob Jungels was the first to attack. Tim Wellens easily followed on his wheel, but the peloton didn’t let them go. Then Geraint Thomas attacked. GC leader Caruso, Castroviejo and Jungels joined him. Thomas didn’t wait long to leave these three riders behind. The Welshman soloed to victory. Tom Dumoulin got second nine seconds later, just ahead of Peter Sagan who won the sprint of the group of GC riders. Tim Wellens was also part of that group. Jürgen Roelandts finished a few seconds later.

Groenewegen third in chaotic Paris-Nice sprint

This came to me from lottoNL-Jumbo:

Dylan Groenewegen placed third in the fifth stage of Paris-Nice today. In the chaotic sprint to Bourd-de-Peage, Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s sprinter was beaten by German Andre Greipel and Frenchman Arnaud Demare. Alaphilippe remains the leader.

"It was pretty hectic," Groenewegen said after the finish. "I had no choice and had to go early. When Greipel passed me, I noticed immediately that he was stronger today. If you lose because someone is stronger, you have to deal with it. We can be satisfied with a third place in this field."

Groenewegen saw the team bounce back today after they took the wrong side of a roundabout two days ago in the sprint. "Tuesday, we messed it up, but we put that right again,” he added. “After the climb, my team-mates brought me to the front. In the final, we have waited a long time and we stayed together."

“We always try to wait longer before we go with the sprint train. That went well today. Last year, during the Tour, we didn’t dare to wait too long. When you see how we do that now, we can be satisfied."

Groenewegen is using Paris-Nice to practice for the Tour de France sprints in four months. Also the train is working towards that, and the lead out men took a big surge ahead today. "In this field of competitors, it was good that I placed third and we kept the sprint train on the track. We have to improve a little bit and then we can start working towards the Tour.”

"It was a lot better than Tuesday,” Sports Director, Frans Maassen said. “We had the good train pulling for Dylan. That was successful, but there were two stronger riders. It shows class that he can sprint again after his crash two days ago. I saw grinta today. He had to because this was our last chance in Paris-Nice for a sprint win. It failed, but we must be satisfied with this result."

In today’s stage, Team LottoNL-Jumbo lost an important helper for Steven Kruijswijk. Stef Clement felt ill and had to leave the race.

Tirreno-Adriatico stage 2: Van Avermaet moves into the leader's jersey

BMC sent this to me:

9 March 2017, Pomarance (ITA): The Tirreno-Adriatico leader's jersey swapped from one BMC Racing Team rider to another on stage 2 after Greg Van Avermaet took fourth place following a tough battle on the day's final climb.

Gre van Avermaet

Greg van Avermaet took over the race lead.

The peloton was happy for six riders to go clear as soon as racing started and the group's lead hovered around five minutes for the first 100km of racing. But, the toughest was yet to come with three categorized climbs packed into the second half of the stage.

After 123km of racing, the climbing began with the breakaway hitting the ascent to Serrazzano, 4'45" ahead of the main bunch being led by BMC Racing Team. With less than 60km to go, the chase began to heat up, and the gap quickly fell to inside 2'30" as Jempy Drucker, Manuel Quinziato and Daniel Oss pushed on at the front of the peloton.

The breakaway was eventually caught on the early slopes of the final categorized climb to Montecatini Val di Cecina, but as expected it was the ascent into Pomarance that proved decisive for today's stage win.

Fireworks started as soon as the race hit the final climb with riders flying off the front of the main bunch in quick succession, but it was the attack by Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) that stuck heading under the 5km go marker.

Caruso was able to make the jump across to him alongside Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team) and Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar). However, the second burst of acceleration from Thomas saw him eventually ride solo to the finish line.

The pace didn't slow down up behind him with the chasers swept up by the bunch as they attempted to close the gap. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) made an early move to take second before Van Avermaet sprinted to fourth place on the line and into the blue leader's jersey.

BMC Racing Team remains in control of the General Classification heading into stage 3 with Van Avermaet leading the way ahead of Rohan Dennis and Tejay van Garderen.

Greg Van Avermaet:

"I'm a little disappointed with today's result. My main goal today was the stage win as I felt I had the legs to do that and the course suited me well. Of course, it's always great to wear the leader's jersey, especially at a UCI WorldTour race, and this is really a sign of the performance of the whole team today. Everyone put in a huge effort, and we had to do a lot of the work ourselves today. I am thankful to the team for that."

"We were a little surprised when Thomas attacked, but we had Damiano Caruso with him at the beginning. When Thomas attacked again and was able to go solo at the front of the race, we were in a tricky situation as after all the work we had put in earlier we weren't able to chase hard."

"We have the leader's jersey for another day. I don't think it will be me that keeps hold of it past Saturday but as a team, we are here to do our best, and that means we want to try and win"

Dorel and its Cycling Sports Group reports loss for 2016

Bike Europe sent me this news:

MONTREAL, Canada – Dorel Industries Inc. today announced its results for 2016 which showed a 3.0% drop in revenues to USD 2.60 billion (€ 2.5bn). This resulted in a net loss of USD 11.6 million (€ 10.9mn). The division Dorel Sports, including Cycling Sports Group, turned out to be bleeding.

Next to the Dorel Sports division Dorel Industries also includes Home and Juvenile divisions. Dorel Sports saw its revenues drop by 6.1% creating an operating profit loss of close to USD 34 million (€ 32mn) which is down big from an operating profit of USD 11 million (€ 10.4mn) in 2015.

Today’s press release says on Dorel Sports’ turn to loss-making “The main causes were the change in US dealers’ purchasing patterns, industry-wide discounting due to excess inventories at suppliers and retailers during the first half of 2016 and a generally soft global bike market overall.”

On Dorel Sports’ results the press release continues with “Full year revenue declined 6.1% to USD 939.0 million (€ 885mn). Year-to-date operating loss was USD 33.9 million (€ 32mn) compared to an operating profit of USD 10.9 million (€ 10.3mn) in 2015. Excluding impairment losses, restructuring and other costs, adjusted operating profit declined USD 10.5 million (9.9mn), or 24.9% to USD 31.5 million (€ 29.7mn) mainly from lower demand and reduced margins from discounting during the first half of 2016. Pacific Cycle had a good year, in part, due to improved supply chain efficiencies. Strategic pricing, cost controls as well as a better product mix allowed Caloi to increase its profitability.”

The entire story can be read here.

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