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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. - George Bernard Shaw

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Team Sunweb to race Volta ao Algarve

Here's the preview the team sent me:

Team Sunweb coach Arthur van Dongen (NED): "We're looking forward to a good week in Portugal for the Volta ao Algarve, for many of our riders it's their first race of the season and everyone is really motivated to get back into racing after a good rest and training period. The parcours provide a real good mix of terrain with two sprint stages, two uphill finishes and an individual time trial. Although we don't have a pure sprinter we still have some cards to play, and on the uphill finishes we will look to position Simon and Sam well going into the final climb. We have some really strong time trialists in Chad and Lennard [Kämna], so we will also look for a result on the third stage. The race provides a really good opportunity for our young riders to make good steps in their level of intensity at this stage of the season against a really strong field of WorldTour teams." 

RACE: Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta (2.HC)

DATE: 14-18/02/2018

COACH: Arthur van Dongen (NED) 

Dan Martin to start 2018 season at Volta ao Algarve

Here's the update Martin's UAE-Team Emirates sent me:

Daniel Martin is one of the most valued riders acquired by UAE Team Emirates over the winter. He will begin his competitive season in the Volta ao Algarve, a category 2.HC race being held from 14 to 18 February.

The UAE Team Emirates selection taking on the 5 stages of this Portuguese race will be made up of seven riders who are all making their 2018 debut:
– Valerio Conti (Italy)
– Vegard Stake Laengen (Norway)
– Daniel Martin (Ireland)
– Jan Polanc (Slovenia)
– Edward Ravasi (Italy)
– Rory Sutherland (Australia)
– Ben Swift (Great Britain)

Philippe Mauduit (France) and Simone Pedrazzini (Switzerland) will be directing the team from the Mitsubishi team car.

Dan Martin

Dan Martin racing in the 2017 Dauphine

Daniel Martin: “Going in Volta ao Algarve I have a mixture of nerves and excitement. There is always anxiety to get back to racing and find out where the fitness levels are, but I feel good and have trained well in the winter months, but racing is of course always different.

"It’s exciting to finally pin a number on the UAE Team Emirates jersey and start racing with a great group of guys. Of course it will take time to learn how to race well together but we already did two nice training camps with lots of laughs and getting to know each other.

"We have a very strong team coming to Algarve so I can’t wait to get started“.

Mikel Landa to start 2018 season at Vuelta a Andalucia/Ruta del Sol

Here's the update from Landa's Movistar team:

The wait is over for Mikel Landa’s debut with the Movistar Team jersey. The Basque rider will line up at the 64th Vuelta a Andalucía, starting on Wednesday, with an aim to perform at a decent level despite his lack of racing. These were the Murgia native’s reflections on what’s to come, just 48 hours before pinning a number on his back again.

Mikel Landa

Mikel Landa winning at the Burgos stage race last year.

DEBUT AND PREPARATIONS
“This will be a very special race for me. New colours, new ambitions… and I’d like to start this off in a good way, to make things easier for everyone and bring some joy to the rest of the team. It’s been a rough winter if you consider the cold temperatures we’ve had in the Basque Country. I’ve had to go elsewhere to build a good base for the harder training blocks, and that’s why I’ve moved to Calpe, in the Alicante coast, for most of the offseason. There has been good weather there, so we didn’t have any excuses to fulfil the work plan we were supposed to follow.”

TRAINING CAMP IN MALLORCA
“I went to Mallorca with some of my team-mates in the last week of January. We put on some serious pace in the hills, and seeing them being so prepared for racing, I really got in the mood for some competition – that’s why I’m so keen to do well in Mallorca. I also shared a lot of time there with Alejandro (Valverde). It’s been a spectacular start of the season for him, especially considering his serious injuries last summer. He had good legs in training, but that’s one thing and the other is confirming them in the races, seeing where you really are. I got really happy when I saw him winning so early in the season in Valencia.”

VUELTA A ANDALUCÍA
“It will be difficult to go for victory in Andalucía, because there are many contenders who have already built some racing form. Some of them started in Australia, others have been competing in Mallorca and Valencia… However, I’ve done good training, I feel myself in good form, and even if I lack that tiny bit of energy from no racing, I think I can be up there with the best. I don’t know the whole route, but I did watch the Allanadas climb on TV when the race finished there in 2012. The final time trial seems like the key point in this year’s race. We will go day-by-day and see what we can do.”

EARLY-SEASON CALENDAR
“After Andalucía, I’ll be racing Tirreno-Adriatico in March and then head to the Vuelta al País Vasco in April, where I’m supposed to be doing really well and chasing success. Then’, I’d like to return to the Ardennes classics, which I haven’t raced since 2012. Those are races whose profile and terrain I like, and learning by the side of Alejandro is a great thing. I think I should be in good condition in Tirreno already, but my main goal is reaching my best form in País Vasco and the Ardennes.”

Amer sales up 4% last year as Mavic/Enve sales decline 10%

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this news:

HELSINKI (BRAIN) — Sales in Amer Sports Corporation's cycling division — comprising sales by Mavic and Enve — were down 10 percent in local currencies in 2017, Amer reported Thursday. In the final quarter of the fiscal year, the division's sales were also down 10 percent.

The company saw a 4 percent increase in sales across all its divisions last year. It attributed the decline in the bike division to soft OE order and high industry and retail inventories.

The cycling division's sales totaled 134.3 million euros ($164 million) for the year, down from 150.2 million euros the year before.

Within Amer's Outdoor segment, which includes cycling, the star last year was Arc'teryx, which helped Amer's outdoor apparel sales grow by 12 percent. The Sports Instruments division grew 1 percent for the year but got a big boost in the final quarter when Suunto introduced its new Spartan family of watches. Suunto sales were up 28 percent in local currencies in the final quarter.

You can read the entire article here.

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