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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

What ails the truth is that it is mainly uncomfortable, and often dull. The human mind seeks something more amusing, more caressing. - H.L. Mencken

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Mitchelton-Scott previews the Tour Down Under

The team sent me this:

Mitchelton-SCOTT today named the seven-man team who will support star sprinter Caleb Ewan in a packed field at the Santos Tour Down Under next week.

In a change from recent campaigns, the team will take a singular rather than split focus into their home and the first WorldTour race of the 2018 season, focusing solely on stage victories rather than overall honours in what is shaping up to be a sprinter’s showcase.

The team:
Jack Bauer (NZL, 32)
Alex Edmondson (AUS, 24)
Caleb Ewan (AUS, 23)
Mat Hayman (AUS, 39)
Damien Howson (AUS, 25)
Daryl Impey (RSA, 33)
Cameron Meyer (AUS, 29)

The objective – Stages:
With no clear favourite for the general classification, the focus for Mitchelton-SCOTT will be on the fast finishes with sprinter Ewan.

The team comes stacked with lead out talent, including recently crowned Australian champion Alex Edmondson, returning teammate Cameron Meyer, experienced duo Mat Hayman and Daryl Impey and new recruit Jack Bauer.

The favourites – A Sprinter’s Showcase:
In what head sport director Matt White is touting as the best sprint field in 20 years, Mitchelton-SCOTT and Ewan will find themselves against the likes of world champion Peter Sagan (Bora Hansgrohe), 11x Tour de France stage winner Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and Italian Ella Viviani (Quickstep).

On the general classification front, BMC Racing lead the list of favourites with reigning champion Richie Porte and four-time winner Simon Gerrans, UAE Emirates bring Rui Costa whilst other Australians Nathan Haas (Katusha) and Jay McCarthy (Bora Hansgrohe) are also to watch.

The Past – Happy Hunting Ground:
The Tour Down Under is a happy hunting ground for Mitchelton-SCOTT – the home WorldTour event an important milestone every season. The Australian team has enjoyed much success, winning the overall title on three occasions (2012, 2014 & 2016) and ten stages in the last six editions, including four with Ewan last year.

Alex Edmondson – 2018 Australian Champion: “To be able to race the Tour Down Under on my home training roads is already such a special feeling but to be able to wear the green and gold makes it unbelievable.”

“Of course it’s back to helping Caleb and the guys at the Tour Down Under. It was a very special day on Sunday but now it’s back to business in helping my teammates. I need to return the favour!”

“This year the course has some solid stages in it which is going to make for some exciting racing. For sure there will be a couple of days which will most likely come down to a bunch gallop. For the other days, there’s a chance of it coming down to a kick but we better have some climbing legs as there’s a few steep ramps in the final few kilometres.”

Caleb Ewan (center) will be the Mitchelton-Scott team leader at the Tour Down Under.

Caleb Ewan – Sprinter, Team Leader: “I thought my form was good coming into the nationals and I’ve been training well so to be in the race and do well is a big confidence boost coming into the Tour Down Under and I think I am probably in my best shape ever for the Australian season.

“It’s always great to put on the green and gold jersey as the crit champion.  I’ve had that for the last few years which is nice because I don’t get to wear it a lot in Europe and it’s nice that when I do get to wear it, it’s in front of a home crowd in Australia.”

“There’s probably only three stages that really suit sprinters in the 2018 Tour Down Under, and then there may be a fourth depending on how it is raced. Looking at the profiles, the first two stages and last stage suit me best and then maybe the third stage if it is a more negative race.”

“This year, the sprint field is a lot better than it’s been in the past two years so it’s definitely going to be challenging.”

Matt White – Head Sports Director: “Caleb is in great shape but the level of competition is really high this year – Greipel, Sagan, Viviani and Caleb – it’s the best sprint field they’ve had in the past 20years. Four world class sprinters and they are each supported by strong teams, Bora-Hansgrohe almost has their Tour de France team here.

“Most teams don’t send such stacked teams to Down Under which is one reason we have had so much success here, but it’s a really good hit out for sprint teams. When you look at how many sprint opportunities there are between now and July you have to make them all count, so the higher the level of competition the better for us as we prepare Caleb for a debut at the Tour de France.

“It’s Alex Edmondson’s first race in the national champion’s jersey. He is going to play a major role in what we want to get done with Caleb in the Tour Down Under and he is part of the future with Caleb – we see him developing alongside Caleb in the years to come.”

Stages:
Sunday, 14 Jan: People’s Choice Classic, Adelaide (50.6km)
Tuesday, 16 Jan: Stage 1 – Port Adelaide to Lyndoch (145km)
Wednesday, 17 Jan: Stage 2 – Unley to Stirling (148.6km)
Thursday, 18 Jan: Stage 3 – Glenelg to Victor Harbor (146.8km)
Friday, 19 Jan: Stage 4 – Norwood to Uraidla (128.2km)
Saturday, 20 Jan: Stage 5 – McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill (151.5km)
Sunday, 21 Jan: Stage 6 – Adelaide (90km)

Bardiani-CSF to rejoin Movement for Credible Cycling

This release came from the team:

Bardiani-CSF has decided to adhere in 2018 to association MPCC - Mouvement Pour Un Cyclisme Crédible. The decision took by Bruno and Roberto Reverberi, general and team manager of Bardiani-CSF, arises from the will to strengthen more and more the internal policy on antidoping and transparency.

Bardiani-CSF has been already part of MPCC from 2012 and 2015, one of the first member among Pro-Continental teams. Last month, after a clarifying conversation with the President of the Association Roger Legeay, the team officially presented its purpose to become member again. On December the 27th, the MPCC Board of Directors validated the membership.

Sonny Colbrelli

Bardiani-CSF will again be part of the Credible Cycling Movement.

The decision of Bardiani-CSF is based on the sharing of values and purposes promoted by MPCC to have a more and more clean cycling, a relevant and prevailing factor over the contrasts emerged in the past. Of course, the team has accepted and immediately adopted the Association’s rules and relative obligations.

Team Sunweb race preview: January 8 – 16

The team sent me this press release:

PEOPLE'S CHOICE CLASSIC (CRT):

Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts (AUS): "Kicking off the season we have the People's Choice Classic in Australia. It's a 50 kilometre criterium that's always really high speed. The first race of the year, there will be a lot of people testing their legs and wanting to show what form they're in after the winter period. We will aim for a result with German sprinter Phil [Bauhaus] and have a strong lead-out in guys like Nikias [Arndt] and Mike [Teunissen] to help position him into the finale." 

RACE: People's Choice Classic (CRT)

DATE: 14/01/2018

COACH: Luke Roberts (AUS) 

LINE-UP
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Phil Bauhaus (GER)
Chad Haga (USA)
Chris Hamilton (AUS)
Sam Oomen (NED)
Michael Storer (AUS)
Mike Teunissen (NED) 

Nikias Arndt

Nikias Arndt (center) will be at the People's Choice Classic.

SANTOS TOUR DOWN UNDER (WT):

Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts (AUS): "Stage one of the Tour Down Under features the same finish as last year, and once again we can expect a bunch sprint. We can also expect that the third stage down at Victor Harbour will end in a mass sprint; we have Phil [Bauhaus] as our sprinter for the fast stages with Nikias [Arndt] and Mike [Teunissen] as the last men with him into the finish. Phil is in really good shape after a good period of rest and training and we can expect some good results from him.

Stage 2 is a key climbing stage, one that's a little bit too difficult for the sprinters. We will explore possibilities with Sam during the race, so this will be a key stage for him. Stage 4 features a new finish that is quite difficult, here we will also need to deliver Sam in a good position. The fifth and final stage at Willunga Hill will be the ultimate decider for the overall standings." 

RACE: Santos Tour Down Under (WT)

DATE: 16-21/01/2018

COACH: Luke Roberts (AUS) 

Accell succeeds in legal battle to stop deliveries to internet shop

Bike Europe sent me this important bike business story:

AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands – In mid December the Dutch subsidiary of Accell Group NV was successful in its attempts to stop deliveries to webshop ‘Fietsenwinkel.nl’. The verdict ended a long legal battle that started in September 2015 between Accell NL and International Bike Group (IBG), owner of Fietsenwinkel.nl. It results in the fact that Accell is allowed to stop its deliveries to this, in the Netherlands market leading, webshop which is expanding into other European countries.

Legal battle between Accell Group and International Bike Group (owner of webshop Fietsenwinkel.nl) started in September 2015. Already in September 2015 Accell wanted to stop its business with IBG/Fietsenwinkel.nl. The reason for ending its relations with the webshop was “Breach of trust due to the sudden unilaterally changed course on the part of IBG that previously consisted of the store chain ‘Hans Struijk Fietsen’ and Fietsenwinkel.nl. Accell never intended to do business exclusively with this webshop that focusses on online bike sales only,” said Wouter Jager who, at that time was MD of Accell NL and now is Accell Group’s Marketing Director.

The legal battle between the two companies resulted in a mutually agreed settlement in February 2016 which stipulated that, among other things, Accell NL could stop supplying its Koga branded bikes to Fietsenwinkel.nl/IBG. However, since that settlement another court case started when Accell NL presented a new margins scheme to IBG based on its business with Fietsenwinkel.nl only and excluding the store chain Hans Struijk Fietsen. In this court case, initiated by IBG, the December 19 verdict rules that the current agreement between IBG and Accell Nederland will end on April 6, 2018.

During the proceedings Accell pointed out to the court that “Accell has done everything it can to reach a new agreement with IBG in the past year and a half.” The court’s summary says “parties have subsequently negotiated a new agreement far into 2017.” The court states that “it cannot be established that the breakdown of the negotiations was to a large extent due to either one of the negotiating parties.”

The Court concluded that Accell may cancel the agreement with Fietsenwinkel.nl due to the failure of the negotiations on a new agreement. Since the letter that Accell has sent about this is dated October 6, 2017, the termination of the (half-year term) contract with Fietsenwinkel.nl applies from April 6, 2018.

Both parties see their advantage in the court’s decision. Accell because as of April 6, 2018 it no longer is obliged to deliver to IBG/Fietsenwinkel.nl under the current conditions. IBG because it has achieved that up to April 6, 2018 the bicycles and e-bikes of the various Accell brands will still be delivered according to the current conditions and margins.

You can read the entire story here.

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