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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, April 10, 2018

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

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Veranda's Willems-Crelan team will ride De Brabantse Pijl

Following the death of team member Michael Goolaerts at Paris-Roubaix, the Veranda's Willems-Crelan team has decided to to race De Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday. The team posted this note on its Twitter page:

"After careful consultation with the family of Michael and our riders, we decided that we will be at the start of De Brabantse Pijl this Wednesday 11/4. We will ride it with Michael in our hearts."

Michael Goolaerts

Michael Goolaerts.

Team Sunweb's upcoming races

The squad sent me this schedule:

BRABANTSE PIJL (UCI 1.1)
Team Sunweb coach Koen de Haan (NED): "The course is 138 kilometres between Gooik and Geraardsbergen and has all the qualities of a Flemish type of race. There are multiple short hills like the Bosberg as well as narrow roads and several cobblestone sections. This might be a good scenario for a breakaway to reach the finish line in Gooik, but if it comes all together, the slightly uphill finish will be a good opportunity for Coryn to try her luck in the sprint. We have a strong team who are more than capable of going for a result in both scenarios, so we will need to remain sharp to ensure that we are there on the right moments." 

RACE: Brabantse Pijl (UCI 1.1)

DATE: 11/04/2018

COACH: Koen de Haan (NED) 

Coryn Rovera

Coryn Rivera when she raced for UHC

LINE-UP
Lucinda Brand (NED)
Ellen van Dijk (NED)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Coryn Rivera (USA) 

LIÈGE - BASTOGNE - LIÈGE (UCI 1.2)
Team Sunweb coach Koen de Haan (NED): "The under 23 edition of this race routes along the classic course between Bastogne and Liège. The race totals 173 kilometres with nine climbs like Cote du Rosier, La Redoute and Saint Nicolas. In the end, we expect the day to become a battle between the strong climbers with a good punch. With Marc we have a rider who fits this profile, but we also have strong all rounders like Felix, Jarno and Florian who could also see what their capable of on a course like this." 

RACE: Liège - Bastogne - Liège (UCI 1.2)

DATE: 14/04/2018

COACH: Koen de Haan (NED) 

LINE-UP
Felix Gall (AUT)
Jarno Mobach (NED)
Marc Hirschi (SWI)
Martin Salmon (GER)
Florian Stork (GER)
Sergio Tu (TAI) 

AMSTEL GOLD RACE (WT)
Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek (NED): "This year Amstel Gold Race offers a new final which will make for a more open race where the opportunists will have better chances. With the changes, the final will start with the Kruisberg, but because of the changed final the Keuteberg will possibly now become the breaking point for the final. Our focus will be to protect our riders for the final during the first 200 kilometres, and from then on good positioning will be crucial. Our goal is to bring several riders into the final and with Søren, Michael and Simon, who is back in action after recovering from a fractured collarbone, we have cards to play. We bring a lot of experience with Johannes and Laurens who know every road in Limburg which will also be of benefit to us during the race." 

RACE: Amstel Gold Race (WT)

DATE: 15/04/2018

COACH: Aike Visbeek (NED) 

LINE-UP
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Laurens ten Dam (NED)
Johannes Fröhlinger (GER)
Simon Geschke (GER)
Lennard Kämna (GER)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Edward Theuns (BEL) 

AMSTEL GOLD RACE (WWT)
Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans (NED): "We're looking forward to the second edition of the Amstel Gold race with the finish 1 kilometre after the top of the Cauberg. After Flanders, the team has had a really good training camp and we're all really motivated to go once again. With Ellen and Coryn we have two riders that finished in the top 10 last year so they will be our final riders on the day. We will search for opportunities to make the race aggressive with different cards to play dependent on the race scenario." 

RACE: Amstel Gold Race (WWT)

DATE: 15/04/2018

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED) 

Two Tour de Yorkshire champions come back for fourth edition

The organizer sent me this news:

Not one but two former Tour de Yorkshire winners have announced they will be jetting in for the fourth edition which runs between 3-6 May.

Reigning champion Serge Pauwels has confirmed he will be back to defend his title, while retired 2016 victor Thomas Voeckler will also be present in an ambassadorial role.

Thomas Voeckler

Thomas Voeckler emphatically winning stage two of the 2016 Yorkshire etour.

Pauwels wowed the crowd in 2017 with a successful attack on the concluding loop into Fox Valley and took the victory by a six-second advantage over his Team Dimension Data team-mate Omar Fraile.

The 34-year-old is the latest star cyclist to announce his intention to ride. Pauwels has just completed the Tour of the Basque Country and will hope to have a strong Ardennes Classics campaign in Belgium and Holland before arriving in Yorkshire for the fourth edition which runs from 3-6 May.

The Belgian said: “I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve ridden the race twice before and the atmosphere and size of the crowds are always unbelievable. Winning the race last year was one of the highlights of my career and I’ll certainly be hoping to do it again.

“The Tour de Yorkshire is my first major goal of the season and the route looks like it could suit me. That summit finish on the Cow and Calf [on stage two] is sure to be selective and the final stage into Leeds will be a really tough one.”

Voeckler - who triumphed in Scarborough two years ago – is also visiting Yorkshire in the run up to the race and will be on hand to see the peloton roll out of Beverley on the opening stage.

Sporting goods giant Decathlon taking another stab at US market

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this:

SAN FRANCISCO (BRAIN) — Decathlon, said to be the world's largest sporting goods retailer, is making its second stab at the U.S. market. Last week the company opened a 8,300-square-foot "lab store" on San Francisco's Market Street.

Decathlon entered the U.S. market for the first time in 1999 when it bought the assets of MVP Sports Stores, a New England sporting goods chain with 20 locations. It rebranded the locations as Decathlon but shut down all but four of the stores in 2003 and shuttered the remaining stores, which were all in Massachusetts, in 2006.

In this go-round, Decathlon is exclusively offering its house-brand merchandise in its U.S. stores and online. That includes the B'Twin brand of bikes, clothing and accessories. The retailer used the Decathlon brand on bikes until about 2006 when it launched the B'Twin brand. Decathlon was the bike sponsor of the Ag2r pro team for several seasons.

The San Francisco store, which held a grand opening last Thursday, will "allow the brand to become familiar with the practices of local sports fans before a possible expansion throughout the United States," the company said. The company said the store does not look like most Decathlon locations.

"It is intended more as a space for reflection, creativity and dialogue between Decathlon designers, customers and athletes. It also serves as a community hub for activities ranging from group runs to workshops and yoga. The retailer is also passionately devoted to the communities in which it operates, and is currently seeking out sports and community groups with which to partner in the local region," a news release from the company stated.

The company also is soft-launching its e-commerce program. Its U.S. website currently accepts orders only from California. A company representative told BRAIN a national e-commerce site is expected to go live in June.

The San Francisco store currently has bikes in stock, but the latest models are still in transit and will arrive in about three weeks. The company offers a wide range of bikes; many of them priced aggressively. For example, its 2018 line includes the Ultra 940 Carbon, a carbon-framed road bike with Dura-Ace components and Zipp wheels that will retail for $3,999.

You can read the entire story here.

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